MHS boys tennis takes second at Salina South Invitational

By Maria McIlwain

Manhattan was just two points away from winning its third-straight tennis meet.

The Indians took second on Thursday at the Salina South Invitational with 44 points. Andover won with 46.

Head coach Brandon Starkey was pleased with how his doubles teams played and said it was good preparation for the postseason.

Carson Gido and Mitch Hutchinson finished 2-2 and took sixth place. They beat the McPherson duo of Trey Hett and Thomas Smith 8-2 before losing to a Salina South pair that eventually took second place. Gido and Hutchinson beat Kyle Spitzenberger and Jackson Blizzard, 8-7 (7-4), in a tiebreaker before losing their final match to Valley Center. Starkey felt the Valley Center duo was one of the best in the tournament.

“Mitch and Carson were tested today, and for the most part, they played very well,” Starkey said.

Manhattan’s other doubles team, Robert Zhang and Jerin Ugrin finished 3-1 and came in ninth place. They dropped their first match, 8-3, to Collin Wreath and Coleman Shanks. They rebounded by beating Seth Yenni and Matt Lucas of Smoky Valley, 8-5, Hays’ Logan Clark and Zac Wyse, 8-3, and Josh Davis and Brandon McClure 8-5.

Starkey said the singles players, Bryce Easton and Jack Easton, struggled somewhat. Bryce Easton suffered his first loss of the season, an 8-4 upset in the third round by the eventual champion, Jadyn Richardson of Andover. He came back and beat Garrett Rogers of Valley Center in the third-place match. He won his first two matches, 8-0 over Seth Shorb of Hays and 8-4 over Cole Brumbaugh of Smokey Valley.

Jack Easton finished 1-3 on the day, with two of his losses coming in tiebreakers. He started the day with an 8-3 win over Abilene’s Luke Kohler, but dropped his second match against runner-up Nolan Schrader of McPherson. He lost a tiebreaker to Carson Harris of Salina South, 8-7 (7-5), before losing another, 8-7 (7-2) to Brumbaugh.

Up next, Manhattan will play in the Junction City Invitational on Saturday.

Salina South Invitational

Team standings

1. Andover 46, 2. Manhattan 44, 3. Valley Center 41, 4. McPherson 40, T-5. Smokey Valley 34, T-5. Salina South 34, 7. Abilene 29, 8. Hays 12.

Bryce Easton (3-1) third place

Jack Easton (1-3)

Carson Gido/Mitch Hutchinson (2-2) sixth place

Robert Zhang/Jerin Ugrin (3-1) ninth place.

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