Hornets Tennis
5/16 & 18/15 District Singles and Doubles Tournament

Story by Coach Bob Long
     Chillicothe hosted the district 15 individual tennis tournament Saturday, May 16 at Daryl Danner Memorial Park. The Hornets received number one seeds in singles, Gabe Poling, and doubles, Garrett Peterson and Nate McKiddy. The six team field consisted of Carrollton, Excelsior Springs, Richmond, Trenton, Cameron and host Chillicothe. Taking the court first for Chillicothe was junior Lane Bonderer. Lane defeated the number four player from Richmond, Lane is Chillicothe number six, Cody Webb 4-6, 6-3, 6-0. In the single elimination tournament, Lane showed poise, coming from behind and getting better as the match progressed. In the quarterfinals, Lane faced Cameron number one Arthur Muhl. Lane frustrated Arthur throughout the first set taking it 7-5. Lane continued to remain focused and played his best singles matches of the year, but Muhl calmed himself and won the final two sets 6-2, 6-2. Arthur eventually qualified for sectional and won his semi-final match 6-0, 6-2 over Trenton's number one Alex Davis. Lane has played doubles at a high level all year, it's unfortunate that we couldn't enter three doubles teams. I am extremely proud of Lane's effort and success. He showed he is able to compete with anyone in our district.
     In singles, after a bye, Gabe Poling defeated Kade Ockenfels of Trenton 6-0, 6-0. The freshmen Ockenfels witnessed a display of powerful serves and overheads in the one sided match. Gabe beat Lane Rogers 6-0, 6-0 in the semi-final. On the surface the battle was also lopsided, but the sophomore Rogers played extremely well. Poling was distracted by the weather and allowed the consistent Rogers to push him in the majority of the games. In the end, Rogers wasn't able to make a dent on the scoreboard, but we will certainly hear from him in the next two years. Gabe runs his season win total to 24-0 and qualified for the sectional competition for the second straight year. Due to weather, Gabe will face Arthur Muhl of Cameron for the championship at 2:00 pm on Monday, before the sectional at 4:00 pm.
     In doubles, Garrett Peterson and Nate McKiddy also received a bye before defeating Gage Zeit and David Curtis of Cameron 6-2, 6-2. In semi-final play Peterson and McKiddy found their stride, beating Jackson Barry and Glenn Jenkins of Carrollton 6-0, 6-1. The Hornet duo returns to sectional competition and will play on Monday to defend their district doubles crown. They are 16-4, with first place in the MEC tournament and second place at the Cameron Invitational tournament.
     The final Hornet tournament entry was juniors Brandon Lamp and Cody Evans. In the first round the Hornets blanked the Trenton team of Isaiah Lickteig and Jacob Hall 6-0, 6-0. The quarterfinal match would be the Hornet four and five players against the Cameron Dragon's two and three players, seniors Daniel Rogers and Jeremy Whitaker. The first set was tight with Lamp and Evans winning 7-5. In the second set, Lamp and Evans assured themselves of a medal by winning going away 6-2. The longest match of the day, was the consistently weather delayed doubles match of Lucas Rogers and Lyle VanFossen of Excelsior Springs and the number two seeded Richmond pair Chase Shipley and Javier Lozano. Rogers and VanFossen eventually prevailed in a third set tie-breaker and Lamp and Evans were waiting. Seniors Rogers and VanFossen could not take the lead from the Hornet pair. Lamp and Evans won 6-4, 6-3 securing themselves a spot in the sectional competition and setting up an all Chillicothe doubles district final with Peterson and McKiddy.
     The Hornet tennis team continues to reach new levels of success. Gabe Poling rolls on, Peterson and McKiddy have returned to where they left off last year. Juniors Brandon Lamp, Cody Evans and Lane Bonderer have proven the entire Hornet squad can compete with anyone in the conference or district. The Hornets will continue the championship round on Monday at 2:00 pm followed by sectional play at 4:00, all at Danner Park. Doubles teams from Savannah and Lafayette have advanced along with a pair of LeBlond singles players Steven Mears and John Lierz. Team sectionals are in Marshall on Saturday, May 23 against Savannah.

May 18th - Finals
     The conclusion of the district fifteen individual tournament was held at Danner Park, followed by the individual sectional eight. The Chillicothe Hornets had three entries bidding for the district singles and doubles titles. Gabe Poling defeated Arthur Muhl of Cameron 6-0, 6-0, to win the singles title for the third year in a row. Garrett Peterson and Nate McKiddy would have to beat a familiar pair to win their second district doubles crown, their teammates juniors Brandon Lamp and Cody Evans. Garrett and Nate won 6-2, 6-3. Despite the loss, Brandon and Cody also moved on to sectional competition. The second place prize, along with a medal, was a match-up with district sixteen winners Craig Helm and Chase Furgison of Savannah. Brandon and Cody played a competitive match, but in the end Helm and Furgison made the shots they needed to make. Defeated 2-6, 2-6, the Hornet duo's run came to an end. Gabe Poling continues to see Bishop LeBlond players in crucial matches. LeBlond's John Lierz was the runner-up from district sixteen. Lierz lost to Gabe in the semi-finals at the MEC tournament 1-6, 1-6. Gabe brought his season singles total to 28-0, defeating the improving sophomore 6-1, 6-0. The win earns Poling a spot in the state contest in Springfield on May 29 and 30. Joining Gabe will be teammates Garrett Peterson and Nate McKiddy. Garrett and Nate beat Miller Hadley and Gentry Cline of Lafayette 1-6, 6-0, 6-4. After beginning 0-5 in the first set and eventually losing 1-6, Garrrett and Nate were able to steady the ship winning the second set 6-0. As all roller coaster rides do, the momentum went down, beginning the third set 0-3. The Hornet coach reminded them of the team which was down 0-3 in the MEC final set and came back to win (Peterson/McKiddy defeated Helm/Furgison 3-6, 6-3, 6-4). Hadley and Cline refused to give in taking a 4-2 lead, but the Hornets were not to be denied winning six of the last seven games. Peterson and McKiddy had beaten the Lafayette pair two other times this season, 8-2 at home and 6-2, 6-3 in the semi-finals of the MEC. Steven Mears of LeBlond defeated Arthur Muhl of Cameron 6-0, 6-0 to collect the final invitation to Springfield.
     The Hornets continue an extremely successful season. Brandon Lamp and Cody Evans had a terrific run. They were unseeded in district play, but once again showed they can compete with the best our conference and district have to offer. Congratulations to seniors Gabe Poling and Garrett Peterson. Nate McKiddy will gain the experience in state competition to pass on to his junior teammates and hopefully repeat his accomplishment next season. The Hornets (15-2) face Savannah at 9:00 am Saturday, May 23 in Marshall. The winner will play the winner of Marshall vs Barstow, Saturday afternoon.

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