On Friday, April 17th, the Boy’s Varsity Tennis team took part in the Topeka West Invitational against nine other teams. The team placed second overall, with individual placements from several members from the team. Freshman Owen Vander Ark took first place in singles, an achievement he was proud to take home for the Panthers.
“I was really excited for my win,” Vander Ark said. “I worked hard to make it to the championship and I was determined to win it not only for myself, but to avenge Caleb [Kern] after he cramped up in the previous match against the opponent.”
Sophomore Caleb Kern took fourth in singles, another huge victory for the team. However, Kern had to forfeit the third-place match due to a cramp in his leg that he sustained. Vander Ark went on to defeat the opponent in the championship, and Kern played for fourth place.
“He played really well,” Vander Ark said. “It was just very unfortunate that he cramped up and had to lose that match on an injury default.”
Senior Brayden Kern and freshman Joseph Schmidt placed third in doubles. The duo played with a lot of energy and took chances in their style of play.
“I feel like they work really well together,” sophomore Caleb Kern said. “They support each other’s playing styles very well and bring out the best in each other.”
The tennis team has been making many improvements in their strategy in meets and chemistry between doubles partners. Vander Ark believes that team bonding and cohesion is an essential part of the tennis program.
“Our team really bonded over this tournament,” Vander Ark said. “We had rap battles in the shuttle on the way to the tournament, and we had a lot of fun talking to each other and improving together.”
The Panthers’ next home match is May 4th, 2018 for their regional championship. The team is very excited to host it at Harmon Park this year instead of having to perform a long drive to participate.
“It’s nice that it’s so close,” Caleb Kern said. “Everyone has a chance to come out and support us as we represent our school and it’s tennis program.”