6A State Tennis Championship in Olathe: Manhattan High Boys Tennis

Manhattan’s Robert Zhang plays against Gage Foltz of Mill Valley during the first round match at the 2019 Class 6A State Tennis Championship at the Olathe-College Boulevard Activity Center in Olathe. Zhang is one of two seniors to be recognized for the MHS boys’ tennis team.

Editor’s note: With the spring sports season being canceled, seniors playing in spring sports were unable to recognize their achievements with a standard senior day. With the help of Manhattan High’s spring sports coaches, The Mercury is recognizing this year’s seniors through a series of senior day stories. The descriptions of players are in the words of their team’s coaches. In this installment, MHS boys’ tennis coach Brandon Starkey recognizes his team.

Robert Zhang

Robert is an extremely special kid. He would have won his fourth letter this year and already was a two-time state qualifier and a three-time all-league performer.

In Robert’s freshman season, he was thrust into the fire. He played a mix of doubles and singles, but ended the year in singles and he never changed again. He finished sixth at the Centennial League tournament earning honorable mention all-league honors. He lost in the match to qualify for state that season, but rebounded nicely to finish second at leagues and at our regional tournament to his teammate Dan Harkin. This earned Robert first-team all-league honors and made him a state qualifier.

Last year Robert improved tremendously, but our league did as well, and he finished third at league and fourth at our regional. He earned second team all-league and made his second appearance at state.

But even more than his accolades, he was a fantastic teammate. He went out of his way to make everyone around him better. Robert is unbelievably unselfish and was willing to do anything to help the team win.

Jacob Geace

Jacob is a very competitive individual. He came to practice everyday for all four years and he just worked his butt off. Jacob patiently waited for an opportunity for playing time during his first three years with the program. Last year, he earned a decent amount of varsity time and he did not disappoint. He put in a lot of hard work during the offseason and was poised to have a strong chance at getting into our top six this year.

Jacob doesn’t have the same accolades as his teammate Robert does, but he still has been a very crucial part of this team. He never missed practice in his four years and was the first to arrive and the last to leave for the start of this season. He brought a winner’s attitude and competitiveness to this team.