Despite ending up on the short end of the 5-4 count to Chandler Prep in opening round play of the Division III State Tennis Tournament, the Bobcats’ season can be deemed a grand success.
Holding an overall No. 12 ranking, the Bobcats squared off at No. 5 Chandler Prep Wednesday. The Bobcats entered the postseason with a 10-4 record overall to go with 10-3 division record.
Benson gave Chandler Prep all it could handle. Jordan Merrill, playing out of the No. 1 slot, defeated Vejen Melnishki, 6-0, 6-1. No. 2 Joseph Lutz defeated Andrei Sheydayi, 6-4, 3-6, 7-3, with Chandler Prep taking the next three singles matches at three, four and five. Tristan Barker at No. 3 was on the short end 7-5, 6-3; Massey, 6-3, 6-2 and Liam Sprietsma, 6-0, 6-2. Camden Waite, at No. 6, defeated Liam Meagher, 7-6, 6-3.
The Bobcats dropped two of the three doubles matches with Merrill and Cole Massey teaming up for the 8-2 win over Sheydayi and Ben Richey.
“As a team, the boys have been very consistent and strong,” commented coach Ginger Barker. “I am very proud of these players. They enjoy the game and have continued to develop.
Lutz and Barker qualified for doubles while Kay Lee Merrill played in her fourth straight ladies’ singles tournament.
Sophomore and No. 2 seed Jordan Merrill advanced to the semifinals of the singles championship bracket. Ashton Kroeger, who defeated Merrill in the semis, won the singles championship.
In doubles Lutz and Barker went 1-1.
Sixth-seeded Kay Lee Merrill went 1-1 in the ladies’ singles bracket.
Kaleb Watts was the Tigers’ entry in the singles bracket and Haley Wichmann competed in the ladies’ portion of the bracket.