John Burroughs, Priory, Westminster Among State Standouts
The Missouri high school boys’ tennis season concluded in late May, with Springfield’s Cooper Tennis Complex again playing host to the MSHSAA state tournament.
While the majority of last year’s boys’ tennis season was canceled and the state tournament not held amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, the biggest alteration this year had to do with the number of classes. Historically the Missouri State High School Activities Association state championship has been comprised of two classes.
This year, a third class was added to the mix. Both teams and individuals played in atypical classes and against opponents they may not have matched up against in prior renditions of the state event. That created some intriguing clashes with more state champions being crowned than ever before.
The state team tournaments for all three classes were held May 28-29 at the Cooper Complex. The individual state championships for both singles and doubles took place the preceding weekend on May 20-22.
John Burroughs School (JBS) completed a perfect season by besting a pair of big-school powerhouses en route to a Class 3 state team title. John Burroughs defeated Rock Bridge — who has dominated Class 2 boys’ tennis the past several years — by a 5-0 scoreline in the semifinals.
JBS then finished off another standout program in Rockhurst by a 5-0 margin in the title match. Lee’s Summit West beat Rock Bridge 5-1 to earn third place. Marquette was the only team to pick up a point against John Burroughs in the Bombers’ march to the state championship. JBS beat Marquette 5-1 May 18.
In individual action, MICDS senior Evan Erb rolled to his second singles state championship with a straight-sets victory over St. Louis University High School’s Gus Tettamble. Erb also won a singles title as a freshman. MICDS featured two players in the state semifinals, as Justin Jan reached the semis before falling to Tettamble.
The John Burroughs tandem of Akash Rajan and Rory Sutter slipped by the Rockhurst duo of Grant Wiedeman and Nicholas Koca in the doubles title clash. The match came down to a 10-point tiebreak after the teams split the first two sets, with JBS prevailing 14-12.
The Saint Louis Priory Ravens dispatched of Thomas Jefferson Independent 5-0 to claim the Class 2 team state championship. While the state final was straightforward, the semifinal was anything but. Pitting a pair of St. Louis teams in Priory and Ladue, the Ravens edged the Rams 5-4 in one of the best matches of the year.
While Ladue fell one match short this year, the Rams’ top-six lineup doesn’t include a senior - so Ladue should be a title contender for years to come. The Rams knocked off Branson 5-0 to finish in third while dropping just four games total in that matchup.
On the individual side, Priory was again a standout by winning both the singles and doubles draws. Priory sophomore Preston Achter beat Ladue freshman Max Chen 6-4, 6-2 in the singles championship. Both Priory entrants reached the doubles final, with Sean Finnie/Christian Djavaherian defeating their teammates, Peter Khoukaz/John Newell.
The Barstow School in Kansas City wrapped up a terrific 2021 campaign by capturing the team state championship with a 5-2 result against Westminster Christian Academy.
The Barstow Knights won two of the three tightly played doubles matches before claiming three singles contests to close out the victory. In third-place action, Bolivar clipped Clayton 5-4.
Barstow standout Richard King won a straight-sets final against Duchesne’s Thomas Griese to earn the singles title. As with the Class 2 doubles championship, the Class 1 doubles final featured two teams from the same school.
The Westminster duo of Seth Noel and Daniel Stengel bested their teammates — Griffin Alm and Matthew Kinney — to win the Class 1 doubles crown.
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