INDEPENDENCE — Independence retained its throne on Monday as it won the SEK League Championships. Independence scored 49 points while Parsons took second as a team with 44 points.
Chanute claimed third place with 30 points, followed by Fort Scott (21), Pittsburg (19(, Coffeyville (16) and Labette County (5).
“I knew everything would have to be perfect for us to win league against Independence,” Parsons head coach Jane Posch said. “I’m totally happy with how we did today. We finished above what we thought we would with some of our guys.”
Independence’s Kale Groff won the singles title, defeating Parsons’ Wyatt Shultz in the first-place match.
Shultz defaulted from the match after suffering an ankle sprain.
“We want to make sure he’s able to play at regionals, so that’s why we dropped out of that match,” Posch said.
Shultz downed Noah Vogel of Chanute, 6-0, 6-1, in the quarterfinals and teammate Tanner Nolting, 6-0, 6-3, in the semifinals.
“If he would’ve played on that ankle, and it was swelling up,” Posch said, “he probably wouldn’t be able to play Thursday. We can’t mess with that. So it was better to give that one up, let him see the trainer and he’ll be ready to go by Thursday.”
Nolting won his third-place match over Owen Clapp of Independence to punctuate his day. He also took down Finian Foraker of Coffeyville, 9-0, and Casey Gomez of Fort Scott, 6-5, 6-1.
“We expected him to be in the top four and we want him to medal a state,” Posch said. “He can be the No. 1 singles player for almost any other team here.”
Parsons’ top doubles team Conner Barcus and Davis West finished runner-up, falling to Easton Morris and Camden Julian of Independence in the championship match.
Barcus and West won a thrilling semifinal match over Independence’s other doubles pairing, 6-4, 1-6, 6-4, to advance to the title match.
“I was impressed that they stayed in it mentally and they had the confidence to win it,” Posch said. “They avenged a loss to them from earlier in the year. They held their serve to win the match. It was huge and I’m really proud of them.”
Kole Kennett and Davion Holman of Parsons finished fifth in the doubles bracket.
“They did really well to get fifth,” Posch said. “They’ll be seeded well and they’ll get a chance to go to state.”
As for Labette County, Gabe Lunsford finished in 13th place in singles while Kendall Green placed 11th.
Most of the league will return to Independence on Thursday for the KSHSAA 4A regional tournament. The top six singles players and top six doubles pairings earn tickets to the state tournament in Pratt.
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