CHANUTE -- Seniors Kyle Altic and Bryce Daly will represent Fort Scott High School at this weekend's Class 4A State Tennis Tournament, earning a spot in the championships by finishing fifth in doubles at the Chanute Class 4A Regional Tournament here Friday.
This will be Daly's first trip to State. Altic and partner Colton Grillott finished seventh last season in doubled in Altic's first trip to State.
As a team, the Tigers finished fifth out of 10 teams with 4 points, 3 of which were earned by Daly and Altic. Independence won the Regional title with 19 points followed by Southeast Kansas League champion Parsons with 16, Pittsburg 11 and Coffeyville with 5. Columbus was sixth with 3 points while four teams did not score. The top six singles players and doubles entries qualified for State.
"I was really proud of the way our team competed at the Regional Tournament," Fort Scott head coach Lynn Barr said. "Everyone came in and played hard and gave a great effort."
Daly and Altic (10-4) were seeded fifth and swept Labette County's Dakota Lewis and Colton Kessler, 6-0, 6-0, in Thursday's first-round play. They lost to Pittsburg's Sean Perkins and Jake Cloninger, the No. 4 seeded team, 6-4, 3-6, 10-8, in the quarterfinals, which dropped them into the consolation semifinals.
Daly and Altic returned on Friday to defeat the eighth-seeded team, Pittsburg's Micah Hashman and Jake Creech, 6-4, 6-4 in the back-side semifinal. They went on to beat No. 7 Lane Schizke/Aiden Goodrich of Independence, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 in the fifth-place match.
"We were not able to be as aggressive as we would have liked (vs. Hashman/Creech), mostly because of the way the opponent was playing," Barr said. "But we played steady, capitalized when we had the opportunity, won the match and moved on to the fifth-place match and qualified for the State Tournament.
"In the fifth-place match, Kyle and Bryce showed a lot of determination after losing the first set, to fight back and take the next two sets to get the win."
Altic, who missed the early part of the season while recovering from a knee injury suffered during the Class 4A State Basketball Tournament, and Daly will play this weekend at the Kossover Tennis Complex in Topeka. Friday's play is set to begin at 10 a.m. with Saturday action set to begin at 9 a.m.
Austin Sather (13-11) earned Fort Scott's other point in singles. As the No. 5 seed, he swept Iola's Jordan Stricker in Thursday's first round, 6-4, 6-1, and lost to No. 4 seed Brandon Smith of Pittsburg, 6-4, 6-3. On Friday, Sather fell to the No. 8 seed, Parsons' Kevin Debaud, 6-3, 0-6, 6-4.
"Austin opened with a solid win over Iola and then he also had to face Smith from Pittsburg," Barr said. "It was a good match and Austin played well, but just couldn't pull it out.
"Austin came out Friday morning and played probably the best match of his high school career. Debaud is a quality player and Austin came out and played with a lot of heart and determination. After dropping the first set, he fought back to take the second set 6-0 to force a third set. The final set was a battle and Austin fought hard till the very end. I think he served notice that he will be a player that other teams will have to be wary of going into next season."
Matt Hull (8-9) was unseeded going into the tournament and faced another unseeded player to get into the bracket, defeating Josh Mathes of Labette County, 9-5. He had to face Smith in his first-round match and fell 6-2, 6-3.
"Matt opened with a nice win over LC and then had a tough second round match against an excellent player in Smith from Pittsburg," Barr said. "Going into this tournament Smith had only one loss. Matt played pretty well against him, but Smith was just too steady.
"Matt has done a great job for us this season, he should be very proud of the season he put together this year as a senior and in his first year of full time varsity action."
Davis Drake and Gage Addington (11-12) were seeded ninth. They lost their only match to Pittsburg's Hashman and Creech, 6-2, 6-3.
"Davis and Gage unfortunately had a first round rematch of their final match at the SEK Tournament with a similar result," Barr said. "They played better this time and the score was a little closer, but this is a team that you must be able to end points against. They defend very well and we just couldn't put the ball away the way we needed to. Davis and Gage have had a very good season, though. They played a lot of matches at No. 1 doubles while we were waiting for Kyle to return and have improved a great deal since the start of the season."
The singles champion was Payton Hays of Parsons, who defeated Independence's Skylar Stacey in the final, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1. The third-place match went to Smith over Indy's Ty Schabel, 6-3, 6-4. Columbus' Cody Spainhoward defeated Debaud, 6-3, 6-1, in the fifth-place match.
Gavin Webster and Tyler Posch of Independence won the doubles title with a 6-0, 6-0 sweep of Parsons' John Paul Hurley and Parker Robinson. Coffeyville's Quinton Hershey and Josh Mitchell defeated Perkins and Cloninger in the third-place match, 2-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-1. Those four teams will join Daly and Altic and Schizke/Goodright at State this weekend.