HHS tennis in regional today
By KLINT SPILLER
Hays High first-year tennis coach Brett Jensen knows his squad is facing one of the toughest regional tournaments in the state, but he said his team isn't scared.
The Indians began play today in Newton, where they will squared off with a number of ranked teams and championship squads.
"We are not scared of anyone that we go up against -- ranked or not ranked," Jensen said. "When you get on the court, it's just you and them."
According to the latest KTCA poll on April 30, Salina Central is ranked No. 2, Newton is ranked No. 3 and Wichita-Kapaun Mt. Carmel is one of two other teams who received votes. Throw in Western Athletics Conference champion Great Bend, and it appears to be a pretty difficult regional.
"In 5A, it quite possibly could be (the toughest regional in the state)," Jensen said.
Only the regional at Shawnee-Mill Valley regional is comparable to Newton as far as difficulty. Shawnee-Mill Valley features the No. 1 team, No. 5 team and the other two vote getters.
The top six finishers in either singles or doubles qualifies for state out of each regional.
In singles, Hays High will send senior Bryce McClung (11-10) and junior Cody Brown (17-7).
McClung finished third at No. 1 singles at WAC on Monday, while Brown was second at No. 2 singles.
Seniors Blake McClung and Hunter Wilkens (16-8) have momentum heading into the regional after tying for the WAC title in No. 1 doubles.
"We are very confident, especially after WAC," Wilkens said.
"That was a very big confidence booster. The first practice back (from WAC) we just seemed like a whole different team."
Jensen elected to change up his No. 2 doubles team at WAC, choosing to start freshman Andrew McGinnis with junior Nick Glassman, and they went 2-2 and finished third.
He said he's going to keep that duo together for the regional.
"They had some really close matches," Jensen said. "They lost to Garden City 5-8, and that was the best we had done against Garden City in our No. 2 spot all year. They really proved they can compete against good teams."
Jensen said the team's goal all year has been to get someone to state.
"It is going to be real tough to get multiple teams because of the competition that is going to be there of course, but we are going to work hard and try our best," he said.