PARSONS -- Fort Scott High School's Colton Grillott and Charlie Sercer have qualified for the Kansas Class 4A State Tennis Tournament after finishing fourth in the Parsons Class 4A Regional here over the weekend.
This is the first boys' season of a new format for Regional play, where the top six finishers advance to State. Although there were teams from Ottawa and Paola in the field, each of the six singles and double qualifiers came from Southeast Kansas League schools.
Sercer, a senior, and Grillott, a junior, (17-10 as a team this season) beat Ottawa's Tyler Mayo/Adam Gillaspie 6-3, 6-1 in the first round on Friday. They then defeated the third-seeded team of Parker Robertson and John Paul Hurley of Parsons, 6-1, 1-6, 10-6.
"Colton and Charlie had a great tournament," Fort Scott head coach Lynn Barr said. "They came in as the sixth seed, had a solid win in their first match, then came out very strong and dominated Parsons in the first set. In the second set, Parsons turned things around, played some very good tennis and really took us out of our game as they took the second set. In the super tiebreaker, both teams played good tennis and we were able to string together the points need to get the win. This was especially nice because we had lost two close matches to Parsons earlier in the season and this also guaranteed their trip to the State Tournament next weekend."
Saturday, the second-seeded team, Mason Johnson/Jacob Guiot of Chanute took a 6-2, 1-6, 10-3 victory. Then the fourth-seeded duo, Austin Schroeder/Issac Hilger of Independence won 1-6, 6-1, 11-9, in the final match.
"We started slow against Chanute, but then we came back and really played well in the second set to force the super tiebreaker again," Barr said. "But in this match, Chanute just played too well in the tiebreak. In the final match against Indy, we again started out playing very good tennis and controlled the first set, but Indy came back and really picked up their games and won the second set forcing another tiebreaker. Both teams played some great tennis in the tiebreaker, Indy came out strong and built a quick 5-1 lead. But we came back to tie it and them move a point or two ahead. It was very close with us having a chance to win at 9-8 but Indy came up with some great shots when they needed them to get back in the tiebreaker and eventually pull it out 11-9. I know Colton and Charlie were disappointed, but they had nothing to feel bad about because it was a great match that could have easily gone either way."
Wes Goodrich and Anthony Davis of Independence defeated Guiot/Johnson in the first-place match. Robertson/Hurley qualified as the fifth-place team while Taylor Eastman and Zach Mitchell of Coffeyville advance as the sixth-place team.
Seniors Dustin Willard and Kai Simmons-Mims also played doubles for the Tigers. They lost their only match to Goodrich and Davis, 6-0, 6-1.
"In doubles, Dustin and Kai had the misfortune of drawing the top seeded team from Indy in the first round and just never were able to get anything going against them," Barr said. "Both of these seniors have had good seasons for us this year and have showed improvement from last year."
Unlike the regular season, there are not No. 1 and No. 2 brackets for either singles or doubles in post-season play. Every singles player is in the same bracket as is every doubles team.
Kyle Altic was 1-1 for Fort Scott in singles. He defeated Steven Beets of Paola, 6-3, 6-0, then lost to Matt Stutt of Chanute, 6-3, 6-0.
Ben Bristley lost his only match of the tournament, a 7-5, 6-2 decision to second-seeded Max Manley of Coffeyville.
"I thought our singles players played some good tennis in this tournament," Barr said. " Ben lost to Manley 1-8 a few weeks ago and came back to play him very close on Friday. Ben is continuing to improve and I think will come back and have a very good year for us as a senior.
"Kyle wrapped up a great first season of varsity play. He had a solid win in his play-in match and then played a very good first set against Stutt who went on to finish fourth. In the second set, I think Stutt's experience as a senior who had been in this kind of match before made a difference. Kyle has had a great year for us and he will be a big part of what we do next season."
Kent Toland of Iola defeated Manley in the singles championship match to remain undefeated on the season. Stutt lost to Mason Posch of Independence in the third-place match. Nick Romans of Independence moves on the State as the fifth-place finisher while Ryder Nush of Parsons advances as the sixth-place qualifier.
Independence, the only team to qualify all four of its entrants, won the team title with 20 points. Chanute followed with 11 and Coffeyville had 9. Parsons was fourth with 7 points, Iola fifth with 6, Fort Scott sixth with 4 and Labette County seventh with 1 point. Columbus, Ottawa and Paola each failed to score.
The Class 4A State Tournament will be held Friday and Saturday at Pratt.