Kenton Hallowell and Jake Seaton gave the Manhattan High tennis team its best state performances since 1982 on Friday and Saturday at the Class 6A tournament in Maize.
Hallowell took sixth and Seaton finished 11th to help the Indians to a fifth-place team finish, giving the Indians two state singles placers for the first time since the 1982 state tournament.
Manhattan alum and current Texas University men’s tennis coach Michael Center won the singles tournament that season, while David Conderman also placed.
MHS coach Chuck Kipp was a freshman at Manhattan that year, and after the weekend’s finish he said he joked that he hopes it doesn’t take another 30 years for the Indians to have two singles players place.
“They did really well, I think both of them finished about where they should have in the grand scheme of things,” he said.
Shawnee Mission East won the tournament with 50 points, while Blue Valley North was second with 27 and Blue Valley Northwest was third with 24. MHS scored 13 points.
Hallowell entered the tournament as the second overall seed among regional winners and received a first round bye, and had his first match on Friday against No. 5 seed Matt Rodgers of Blue Valley West. Rodgers defeated Hallowell 6-0, 6-4 to push him to the loser’s bracket.
He defeated Wichita Northwest’s Austin Awtrey 9-3 in the first match of the backside bracket, and then defeated Shawnee Mission East’s Jamie McDonald 9-4.
Hallowell advanced to the fifth-place match with a 9-6 win over Olathe North’s Austin Crist. He matched up with Rodgers once again in the fifth-place match and fell 9-6 to take second.
Kipp said Hallowell’s final match was grueling for both players.
“I would have liked to see Kenton win that second match against Rodgers to end the tournament,” he said. “In the final match for fifth it was a really tight, close battle, and it was a tough one.”
Seaton started his path to 11th place with a first round win over Garden City’s Sebastian Kyaw 6-0, 6-0. Seaton lost his second-round match to Crist 6-0, 6-4 and fell to the loser’s bracket.
He defeated Washburn Rural’s Connor Farron 9-4, and then lost to Lawrence’s Thomas Irick, 9-1.
Seaton lost to Hutchinson’s Stephen Banz, 9-5, to fall into the 11-12 match, where he beat Maize’s Trevor McChristian 9-1.
Kipp said Seaton played well, and he is already looking forward to him making another state trip next year.
“Jake really came in seeded as the 12th player if you look at how the seeding is structured,” he said. “He had some opponents that were comparable, and he did very well. Of course there is always room for improvement, he is a junior and he gets another crack at this next year.”
The Indians will return seven players with varsity experience next season.