The Hesston College men’s tennis team is headed back to the national stage following a stellar 8-1 team win over Barton CC (Great Bend, Kan.) at the NJCAA Region VI match on May 1, in Liberal, Kan.
Fighting the elements on a windy and unusually cool May afternoon, the Larks got things started with a pair of wins in doubles play. Sophomore Keegan LeFevre (Woodland Park, Colo.) and freshman Riley Kingsley (North Newton, Kan.) recorded a straight set win (6-2, 6-1) at one doubles, followed by a win (6-4, 6-3) at three doubles by freshmen Josiah Borst (Becker, Minn.) and Trevor Oyer (Hubbard, Ore.).
With the Larks leading 2-1, sophomore Caleb Schrock-Hurst (Harrisonburg, Va.) set the tone in singles play with a dominating straight-set win (6-0, 6-1) at three singles. Needing two more wins to advance to nationals, Kingsley put Hesston on the brink with an impressive win at one singles (6-1, 6-3). LeFevre iced the match by closing out a tough second set (6-0, 6-4) at two singles.
Not to be outdone, sophomore Andry Stutzman (Harrisonburg, Va.) won at five singles in another straight-set effort (6-2, 6-4), while Borst added to an already great day with an exciting win (7-6, 6-3) of his own. Borst was down 5-1 in the tiebreaker before fighting back for a 9-7 win to take the first set.
The day was completed when sophomore Yuki Torri (Nishio-shi, Japan) won at six singles (7-6, 6-2) to close out a stout 8-1 win.
“It was a real pleasure to watch the gritty play that these guys put forth,” said Hesston coach Myron Diener. “They did an excellent job representing Hesston College with their talent, determination and sportsmanship.”
For the second straight year, the Larks advance to the NJCAA, Division I National Tournament, beginning May 16, in Plano, Texas.