Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Kings Of Kansas

It's been a very good year for my brothers who both teach and coach at Wichita Collegiate School. In November, Scott's robotics team won one of two national tournaments, this one held in Arkansas. This Spring, his Science Olympiad squad won the Kansas state championship and qualified for the national championships in June. Dave, perhaps the winningest high school tennis coach in the United States, won yet another Kansas state championship with his kids last weekend. Dave's Spartan boys and girls teams have won a combined thirty-six state titles. Below are two stories from this weekend's Kansas state tennis final.

By Joanna Chadwick, The Wichita EagleWichita Collegiate tennis coach Dave Hawley's tenure has been packed with success, winning 15 boys titles from 1988-2006.
But as the championship matches of the Class 3-2-1A tournament started Saturday at Wichita State, Hawley was especially emotional. Collegiate's doubles teams of Miles Dunne-Brandon Somerhalder and Paul Abromeit-Wyatt Kesler were set to play in the championship match, which meant Collegiate had won yet another team title.
"This team, they're very special because they were uncoached by me for part of the year," said Hawley, who spent two weeks of the season in St. Louis with his dad, who died on April 15."... I've liked all my teams, but this team, even if they hadn't won it, would be very, very special."
Hawley, whose team scored 38 points to edge second place Conway Springs (34 points), credited his players and assistants Jeff Nordgren and Janet Glaser.
"Right in the beginning, about the first week of the season, (Hawley) came in and said that things were going poorly with his dad," Nordgren said."... I could just see the faces of the kids. They love Dave so much.... They played well in the tournaments, and I think it's inspired by how much they care about him."
Coming into Saturday, though, it appeared that Conway Springs had a slight advantage. While Collegiate's top singles player, Daniel Ritchie, had to work his way on the backside to finish fifth, the Cardinals had Mitchell Kibbe in the singles semifinals. And Conway Springs and Collegiate had two doubles teams in the semis.
But Kibbe lost to Wichita Independent's Ryan Norman 6-0, 6-2 before finishing third for the second year by beating Kansas City Maranatha's Bryan Thomas 7-6 (4), 6-3.
Norman, a junior, won his second straight singles title by beating Claflin's Taylor Bieberle 6-1, 6-1.
Kibbe's loss meant Conway Springs needed to get a doubles team in the championship.
But Dunne-Somerhalder, Collegiate's No. 1 doubles team, defeated Conway Springs' Stratton Lange-Matt Pauly 6-3, 6-2. And Abromeit-Kesler beat Conway Springs' No. 1 doubles team of Kody Koester-Andrew Devlin 6-4, 6-4.
" (Koester-Devlin) needed to win against Collegiate," Conway Springs coach Chris Bellar said of the team title competition. "They didn't play as well as we'd like them to to win. If we had won that one, it would have been interesting, but it still wouldn't have been guaranteed.
"... We had to get three entries out of regionals, and that was a tremendous accomplishment. We knew we had to get to the semis to have a chance, and we did that. We did two-thirds of what we wanted to do, but sometimes it doesn't go your way."
It was a little weird for the Collegiate doubles teams to play each other. Somerhalder said it was like a practice.
The fans struggled with it, too, so between sets, Hawley told the fans to cheer, that the players had said the first set was boring.
"Don't worry about offending anybody," Hawley said to the fans.
"We've been playing each other all season, and it's gone both ways before," said Dunne, a sophomore. "But we're all close friends, in school and out."
Dunne and Somerhalder won in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3.

By AMY HOUSTON CatchItKansas.com
Wichita Collegiate won the Class 3-2-1A tennis championship Saturday, the second time in three years. The Spartans prevailed without any upperclassmen.
“This has been a dream come true,” said Collegiate coach Dave Hawley.
Collegiate was ranked No. 3 or 4 throughout most of this season, according to the Kansas Tennis Coaches Association. After winning a regional title, Collegiate was the top team in the association’s final rankings.
Hawley’s team took state with 38 points, followed by Conway Springs with 34. The Spartans had only one state qualifier in singles, but the doubles final was all Collegiate. Miles Dunne and Brandon Somerhalder defeated teammates Paul Abromeit and Wyatt Kesler 6-4, 6-3.
The state-championship appearance was part of a family tradition for Dunne, whose older brothers, Bo and John, also played in state doubles finals for Collegiate. John Dunne and his partner defeated Bo Dunne’s team for first place when Collegiate last earned the team title in 2006.
“We just wanted to continue the tradition,” Somerhalder said.
The boys took on Stratton Lange and Matt Pauly of Conway Springs in the semifinal and prevailed 6-3, 6-2. The teams had played each other in the regional semifinal at Collegiate. Somerhalder and Dunne, both sophomores, also won that contest.
Hawley said Dunne placed fifth at state in singles competition last year, but he offered to move to doubles. Hawley said all his players were selfless this season.
“We’ve preached ‘team first,’” Hawley added.
Somerhalder communicated that philosophy Saturday when he reflected on the state championship. He was especially proud of Kesler, a sophomore, and Abromeit, a freshman.
They battled Kody Koester and Andrew Devlin of Conway Springs to advance to the final. Koester and Devlin defeated the pair 6-4, 6-4 at regionals, but Kesler and Abromeit won the state semifinal by the same score.
“That was huge for our team,” said Somerhalder.
Dunne recalled that Hawley told the boys before Saturday’s competition that if they won their first matches, they would be team champions. Since both Collegiate teams won, Dunne said, the showdown for the state title was a little less competitive.
“That’s our team,” he said of his Spartan opponents, “so it’s not the end of the world (if we lose).”
Even so, Dunne had a little extra motivation since his brother John was a two-time state champ. He had told his little brother, “Once you get three, you’ll be better than me.”
“He’s been saying that since last year after the state championship,” said Miles Dunne. “It’s fun.”
Bo and John Dunne were present Saturday to support their brother – and their alma mater. The doubles championship was a win-win for Collegiate.
“They’ve beaten us before,” said Somerhalder, “but Miles and I went in knowing we could win the state championship.”
God bless,
Luke 18:1

E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

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