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Gering, Scottsbluff stopped short at state tennis tourney
October 22, 2015 Jerry Purvis   

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Although the Scottsbluff and Gering boys’ tennis teams picked up some wins at the Class B state tournament in Lincoln last week, neither were able to advance to Friday’s final round.

Gering senior Jason Doll, who was seeded ninth at No. 1 singles going into the tournament, took a 6-1, 6-4 win over McCook’s Spencer Krysl. In his second match of the day, Doll lost in straight 6-0, 6-0 sets to eighth seed Seth Howe of Waverly. Doll ends his season with a 10-6 record.

At the No. 2 singles position, Luis Hernandez dropped his first round match by 6-4, 6-0 to a player he hadn’t seen before – Dylan Steffens of Beatrice.

In doubles action, the No. 1 Gering team of Grant Maser and Josh Wilson lost their first match of the day to Dawson Schrader and Ty Schrader of Lincoln Christian.

The No. 2 doubles match was local affair as Gering’s Mason Marsh and Joshua Parra lost 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 to Zachary Placek and Dylan Horton of Alliance.

“All in all we did pretty well even though it wasn’t an easy grouping,” said Gering Coach Justin Reinmuth. “Both Jason and Mason are graduating this year, so we’ll be rebuilding for next year.”

Gering will have six players returning for next season.

Scottsbluff has some success at the state tournament, but was unable to advance to the second day of play. While Coach Maddie Johnson stayed in town for a family emergency, Assistant Coach Cassie Behnke took the team to Lincoln.

Owen Parra and Braden Sindt, Scottsbluff’s No. 1 doubles team, had the best success of local teams at the tournament. Seeded seventh with a 30-6 record, the team drew a bye into the second round. The first opponents were Caleb Lauby and Henry Chacon-Ibarra of Lexington and the Bearcats No. 1 doubles team came away with a 6-4, 6-1 win.

That set up a quarterfinal match against second seed Mathew Mattley and Zachary Weber of Gretna. Parra and Sindt dropped that one by scores of 6-1, 6-1.

Their season ends at 31-7.

In No. 2 doubles, Scottsbluff’s Patrick Madden and Conner Muhr dropped their first round match, 6-3, 7-6 (11-9), to eighth seed Nathaniel Kiolbasa and Jesse Grimmett of Adams Central.

Behnke said they had a tough time in the tiebreaker, trading points with the Adams Central duo. It was all a matter of momentum, and while Madden and Muhr executed well, they just couldn’t put it all together.

Scottsbluff’s 10th seed Sam McCaslin, a sophomore, also posted a win at No. 2 singles, defeating Sam Delperdang of Omaha Skutt, 6-2, 6-0. But in his second match of the day, McCaslin was dropped, 6-3, 6-2 by seventh seed Luke Krajewski of Mount Michael Benedictine. McCaslin finishes his season with a 20-18 record.
“Sam played some really good tennis,” Behnke said. “Even though he lost, he came off the court really confident. He was comfortable with the way he played and I agreed with him. He did a good job of representing himself and Coach Johnson.”

Soren Mercer-Smith, Scottsbluff’s seventh seeded No. 1 singles player, drew a bye in the first round. His first match was against the 10th seed player, Justin Fay of Grand Island Central Catholic. Mercer-Smith was defeated 6-4, 7-5.

“I actually thought it was a disadvantage for Soren to have a bye, as he wasn’t warmed up for the match and started slow,” Behnke said. “By the time he hit his stride it was too late.”
Scottsbluff graduates two seniors next year, Owen Parra and Patrick Madden. The rest of the squad should be back for the 2016 season.

“Coach Johnson knew she wouldn’t be able to attend the state tournament, but her team finished second at the GNAC meet,” Behnke said. “That was kind of the end of the season for her, but to see the team excel was a shining moment for her.”

The test of success is in the players themselves. After the season was over, several members were still on the courts playing tennis. “That’s a huge compliment to what Coach Johnson has done for the program,” Behnke said.
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