Playing at full strength in an eight-team tournament in Salina, the Manhattan High boys’ tennis team put together a solid performance from start to finish, winning the tournament in the process.
The Indians finished well ahead of the competition, scoring 59 team points to beat second-place Valley Center, which scored 43.
Playing in a pre-seeded bracket that didn’t designate between No. 1 and No. 2 players, the Indians bucked expectations and finish above their seed at every position, led by Kirkland Lambert’s first-place finish in singles.
Lambert was 4-0 on the day, only getting tested in one match, which he won 8-4. The talented sophomore was seeded fifth in the bracket, which was not seeded on-site before the tournament began by the coaches as usual.
“That was a mistake,” Manhattan head coach Joyce Allen said of Lambert’s seed. “I don’t know how that happened. It was an opportunity for Kirkland to play, though he wasn’t really challenged anywhere.”
Also playing at singles was Camden Adams, who finished 2-2 on the day and had a pair of close matches end in tiebreaks. Adams won his first match of the day 8-7 (7-0), before dropping consecutive matches, the first to the No. 1 seed and the second in the other tiebreak, losing 8-7 (8-6).
“That was a tough loss for him,” Allen said. “But I was pleased with the way both of them played.”
In doubles, Jonathan Turnley and Carter Nelson were seeded fourth in the bracket but finished in third place, dropping only one match to the eventual champions from Salina South, 8-4. The rest of their day was a breeze, winning matches 8-0, 8-0 and 8-1.
“The only match that gave them any trouble was the match they lost to Salina South,” Allen said. “And they went on to win it.”
Allen switched things up with the other doubles team, pairing Bryce Easton and Bryan Armbrust. The pair took fifth place and finished 3-1 on the day, also losing to the eventual winners in Salina South, 8-7 (9-7) in their second match, relegating them to the consolation side of the bracket.
“Bryce and Bryan did a good job,” Allen said. “I was pleased with how well they played.”
The team stays busy with three meets over a four-day span, starting Saturday at Junction City before a Monday meet at Topeka High and a quadrangular in Emporia on Tuesday.