Tennis teams finish at state
     2014-10-23      By Jerry Purvis    news@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Anthony Brathwaite/Gering Citizen - Bearcat senior Eric Olsen returns a volley during the Scottsbluff Invitational earlier this season. Olsen tasted victory in the state #2 singles competition in Lincoln last week. 
The boys’ tennis teams for both Gering and Scottsbluff were in Lincoln this past week for the Class B state tournament, but only one came away with some wins.

Both Gering’s singles players dropped their first matches on Thursday as #1 Mason Marsh fell 6-0, 6-0 to Jonathan Deemer of College View Academy. Gering freshman Josh Wilson also lost his match against Nebraska City by the same 6-0, 6-0 score.

Gering’s #1 doubles team of Alex Lupher and Jason Doll, which has been having some success during the regular season, dropped a 6-0, 6-1 loss to Powers Dicus and Ethan Petersen of Omaha Brownell-Talbot/Concordia.

Grant Maser and Luis Hernandez, Gering #2 doubles team, faced a familiar opponent in Scottsbluff’s Jackson Frank and Owen Parra. Scottsbluff came away with a 6-2, 6-2 win to advance to the next round.

“It was disappointing, but going to state was a good learning experience for the team,” said Gering Coach Justin Reinmuth. “It’s definitely a growing experience for us so we plan to improve and go back next year.”

Reinmuth said the competition is always strong at the state tournament, featuring the top teams in the state with players Gering hasn’t seen before.

Alex Lupher is the only player who will graduate in the spring, so the rest of the team will return for the 2015 season. “We have room to improve, but have a lot of guys coming back with experience,” Reinmuth said.

Although the Scottsbluff boys didn’t make it to the second day of the tournament, they did accomplish what they set out to do – come away with some wins. Scottsbluff Coach Maddie Burford said the team wanted to make it past the first round. “The team did a great job for where we were in the brackets.”

Although they played strong, both #1 singles and doubles teams lost their first round matches. Sean Mercer-Smith, at #1 singles, lost 6-3, 6-3 to Kipper Marsh of Lincoln Christian. The #1 doubles team of Soren Mercer-Smith and Brady Sindt lost 6-0, 6-2 to Elkhorn.

“The #1 doubles team played well together,” Burford said. “They were moving well and really stepped up their game at the end of the season. And Sean at #1 singles was making some different shots, but was up against a strong opponent. Still, I’m very proud of them.”
Scottsbluff’s victories came at the #2 singles and doubles positions. Senior Eric Olsen, at #2 singles, got a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Dylan Steffens of Beatrice in the first round. But he then dropped a 6-0, 6-0 match to Nicholas Hamburger, the fourth seed from Hastings.

“Eric was mentally prepared for the match,” Burford said. “He was hitting the ball as best as I’ve seen him all season.”
The #2 doubles team of Jackson Frank and Owen Parra, coming off their win against Gering, fell in the second round, a 6-2, 6-1 match against fourth seed Grand Island Central Catholic.

“The boys were happy with the way things ended,” Burford said. “We’re losing three seniors, so we’ll only have three returning varsity next year. I’m hoping the younger kids from junior varsity will play and step it up next season.

The three varsity players expected to return for the 2015 season are Brady Sindt, Soren Mercer-Smith and Owen Parra.

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