Bishop Carroll’s Jared Ohm left his final tennis match of the day breathing in pronounced gasps, with beads of sweat gushing down his forehead.
The physical evidence was a telling ending of the match left behind. Ohm was exhausted – and he was the one walking away with the Greater Wichita Athletc League No. 1 singles championship.
Ohm survived the title showdown with Kapaun’s Mason Born 6-4, 6-2, but the final tally was not a fair representation of the effort put forth by Born.
“It was very arduous, very tough – a lot of long points and tough rallies. We were both playing a lot of defense,” Ohm said. “I think his forehand is his huge weapon. I think a lot of times he was able to dictate play using that.”
In the first set, Born charged back from a 5-2 deficit to steal two games, tightening the game to 5-4. Ohm responded with several powerful serve to seal the set 6-4.
Set two came easier in terms of points for Ohm, but Born’s array of returns still dazzled. Yet Ohm remained collected, with his victory clinching the team title for Bishop Carroll.
“When I came in my freshman year, they were still reigning champions, so the four years I’ve been here, to be able to hold that and not be the team that lost it, it’s a big deal,” Ohm said.
The Golden Eagles won the championship with 18 total points – nine for their performance in the dual season and nine for winning the league tournament. Wichita Northwest took second place with 15 points, followed by Kapaun (14) and Wichita East (13).
No. 2 doubles
Wichita East’s pair of Hari Ramanan and Alex Mansfield were the Cinderellas of the GWAL tournament.
Entering the tournament as the No. 4 seed, the East pair knocked off No. 1 seed Bishop Carroll in the semifinals before enduring a grueling 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 triumph over No. 2 Northwest in the title round.
“It’s wonderful. I said at the beginning of the year that talent-wise, I’ve known they’ve had the ability to do it,” said Mont Yourdon, East head coach. “It’s been a matter of if they want to do the right things of getting to the net and playing up to their potential – the confidence in their abilities.”
The upset by seeding was plenty, but perhaps more shocking is that only three days prior, Ramanan was playing singles in the GWAL junior varsity tournament.
“I told them on Wednesday when we started focusing for this tournament, if you guys win city, I’m taking you guys to regionals,” Youndon said. “They took it to heart.”
No. 1 doubles
Bishop Carroll’s Logan Bevis and Matthew Zemanick never dropped a set on their way to the No. 1 doubles title.
“As the No. 1 seed, you always feel pressure to live up to expectations,” Zemanick said. “I think once we got the first two matches out of the way, we calmed down, and in the third match we came out confident.”
Bevis and Zemanick took out No. 3 seed Brayley Bazzelle and Austin Haase of Wichita Northwest in the title round, 6-1, 6-2.
Bevis summed up the feeling quite simply.
“It’s awesome,” he said.
No. 2 singles
After one set, it became clear Kapaun’s Daniel Hullings was poised to earn a singles championship. The only player that seemed possible of stopping his momentum was himself.
Unfortunately for Hullings, he did.
“He was putting it where he needed to, and I was just really struggling with my backhand,” said Northwest’s Seth McDaniel. “At the start of the second set, I won the first two games early on, and I think it was a psychological thing.”
After losing the first set 6-3, McDaniel weathered the storm by taking the final two sets 6-0, 6-1.
Hullings showed clear frustration, as he struggled to kill the ball and sent returns sailing past the back line.
“Seeing the other player frustrated is definitely uplifting for me,” McDaniel said. “Obviously I don’t like to see people unhappy, but it really helped reinforce me and helped me win.
“To take home first means a lot, for sure.”