SPRINGFIELD » Try as they might, Chillicothe High School tennis Hornets Chase Reeter and Wade Dietz could not extend their stay in the MSHSAA Class 1 State Championships into a second day.
The Dietz/Reeter combo was eliminated from the 16-entry tournament in two matches Friday, falling to the Logan-Rogersville tandem of James Ethridge and Matthew Gartland in a second-straight hard-fought battle, 3-6, 6-7(7) in the first round of consolation play early this afternoon.
The Chillicothe tandem came up a bit short of victory in their doubles play opener at the Cooper Tennis Complex Friday morning.
The recent CHS graduates lost to Sohil Bhagat and Ben Abbas of Kansas City: Barstow 2-6, 6-7(6), Hornets head coach Aaron Douglas reported just after 11 a.m.
“They had some set points at 5-2 in the second set, but couldn't capitalize,” Douglas said of the Hornets’ pair's first-round match.
“It was a heartbreaker,” the coach added, a sentiment which surely applied to the elimination match, as well, when the chance to take the match to its 3-set limit saw the Hornets drop a second-set tiebreaker which went beyond the required 12 points. Against the Barstow team, Reeter/Dietz were even 6-6 in "overtime" before losing the next two points for the set and the match; against the Logan-Rogersville duo, the tiebreaker went 16 points before Ethridge and Gartland won consecutive points to snap a 7-7 deadlock.
With the elimination of Dietz and Reeter from state play, one of the most-successful seasons CHS boys' tennis campaigns officially concluded.
This year's team won its first 19 dual matches before losing in the first round of state play by 4-time defending state champion Kansas City: Pembroke Hill (which finished third this year behind St. Louis' Mary Institute/Country Day School and runner-up John Burroughs). They won 16 of their 20 team matches by shutout.
The senior-laden team won both the Midland Empire Conference and District 16 Tournament team crowns, as well as two regular-season tournaments.
Individually, it had both the district doubles champions (Reeter/Dietz) and runner-up (Grant Peterson/Johnson Young) and the district singles champion (Gabe Poling) and third-place finisher (Jeremiah Applebury. It might have repeated those showings or at least come close in the annual MEC Tournament, but that late-season event was cancelled, due to bad weather.
In terms of individual won-lost records, this year's Hornets were nearly impeccable.
In singles play, No. 1 player Dietz, Reeter, Peterson, and Young each suffered only one loss all year, while Applebury absorbed merely two and Poling three. For Dietz, Reeter, and Peterson, their only defeats came in the sectional team match against Pembroke Hill.
All told, Chillicothe players unofficially went a composite 83-9 in singles this year.
Page 2 of 2 - In doubles, with their two state setbacks Friday, the Dietz/Reeter combo wound up 20-3, while Young/Peterson posted a 14-2 mark, top reserves Derek Gray and Garrett Peterson went 7-1, and Poling/Applebury went 5-1. Three other tandems paired less frequently – involving Gr. Peterson, Young, Applebury, Poling, and Gray – were a combine 7-0, bringing CHS' overall doubles ledger in 2013 to 53-7.