Twelve hours in Cimarron’s sweltering heat and the Meade Buffaloes emerged victorious in the 3-2-1A Regional Boys Tennis Tournament with 17 points. The next closest was Kiowa-South Barber with 13.
Five of the Buffaloes six tennis players qualified for the state tournament. Meade’s No. 1 single, Dalton Wiens, earned second at regionals while their No. 1 doubles, Kelby Ross and Randy Friesen, dominated the doubles bracket. Micah Harder and Garrett Blehm, Meade’s No. 2 doubles, also earned a state tournament berth defeating Southwestern Heights’ Rebi Jacobs and Blake Starks for fifth place. Meade head tennis coach Anita Wiens said her team was confident coming into regionals.
“We knew we had a good team this year,” she said. We had some partners who played well together and we had some guys that knew they wanted to play singles. It all flowed well together. Looking at the regional bracket and it was some of the teams we have played before; we knew that it was going to be good for us.”
Neither of Meade’s doubles partners played together prior to this season but their flawless chemistry in undeniable. Friesen and Ross said they think their chemistry comes from playing other sports together.
“We were tight ends together on the football team so,” Friesen said as he looked at Ross. “Were friends both on and off the court. Our chemistry is what makes us different, I’d say.”
“We go back pretty far and play together well,” Ross added.
This is Friesen’s first year to qualify for state. He was beat out in the first round of regionals last year.
“I’m just excited and happy with what God has blessed me with and I am excited to use this opportunity to succeed,” he said. “I’d like to place and it would be exciting to make it to the second day.”
Ross, on the other hand, is no novice when it comes to state tournament berths. This will be his third time heading to State, but he has yet to earn a medal.
“When I went my sophomore year I did not have a very good experience,” he said. “Last year we won a match but I am hoping to do a lot better this year and keep stepping it up. We definitely want a medal this year. We want to play on Saturday. That’s our goal.”
Cimarron High School’s No. 1 doubles team has a similar goal in mind. It was at home on the courts on Friday and earned second. The Southwestern Heights doubles teams were co-ed and both teams earned state tournament berths as well. The Mustangs Whitney Garinger and Richard Navarette took fourth while Jacobs and Stark slipped in at sixth place.
The Cheiftains No. 1 doubles duo, Blake Wagenbach and Conner Black, battled for third.
Meade might have taken the team crown over Kiowa-South Barber but that was not the case for the singles championship. The Cheiftains’ Jace Thurman defeated the Buffaloes’ Dalton Wiens for first place 1,0.
“Winning this regional allowed me to get a real good seeding for state,” Thurman said. “I have a shot at going quite a ways in it. Last year I got beat out in the first round. I just want to do my best and play hard and whatever happens happens.”
Thurman said Wiens was one of the toughest players he has faced and he hopes his drive and determination will inspire others at Kiowa-South Barber.
“My coach and teammates are extremely excited for me, so hopefully that encourages other kids at South Barber to work hard so they can make it to state also.”
Scott City’s Tyler Yeadon and Wyle Yeager played a friendly match against each other for third place. Southwestern Heights’ Holmes defeated Kingman’s Meng for fifth place in singles.
These 18 athletes will prepare for state with one goal in mind: to win it all. Some may do it differently than others. Coach Weins said she is excited to have so many of her athletes going to state and practices will be more challenging for her five medal hopefuls.
“We're going to have some fun practices,” she said. “We will do some things that will challenge them and pick up their speed because that is what they will see at state.”