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By RICK PETERSON

TopSports.news

It's been a challenging but very successful last few days for Washburn Rural's boys tennis team.

WashburnRuraltennisCity2Washburn Rural's boys tennis team poses for a picture after winning Wednesday's city team championship at Kossover Tennis Center. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

The eventful stretch began with last Thursday's city meet being postponed by inclement weather and continued in Monday's Centennial League meet, which Brad Johnston's Junior Blues won despite playing without top singles players Dylan Dodge and Keegan Knudtson, who were out of state on a school-related trip.

City schools also had to deal with weather uncertainty again on Wednesday, with teams initially reporting to Plan B indoor venue Genesis before the weather conditions vastly improved and the city championships were able to go on as planned at Kossover Tennis Center.

And once city competitors got back to Kossover and were treated to near-perfect conditions, Washburn Rural did the rest, sweeping all four individual titles on the way to a perfect team score and a 36-26 win over 2023 city champ Topeka West.

"The boys obviously kept their heads and stayed level-headed and finished the job,'' Johnston said. "I feel like we're at the top of our game right now and I feel like they're going to keep performing at a high level.

"Obviously you just never know, but I'm proud of where they're at and proud of where they're working towards.''

Dodge, a senior, and sophomore Knudtson swept the No. 1 and No. 2 singles championships while senior Lawsen Lobatos and sophomore Dylan Willingham prevailed in No. 1 doubles and sophomores Brayden Kohls and Cale Duetscher completed the sweep with the title in No. 2 doubles.

 LawsenLobatosTennisCity 3Washburn Rural senior Lawsen Lobatos makes a return during Wednesday's city meet at Kossover Tennis Center. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

DylanWillinghamTennisCity 1Sophomore Dylan Willingham helped Washburn Rural post a perfect team score in Wednesday's city boys tennis championships at Kossover Tennis Center. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

The match of the day was the No. 1 doubles final, with Lobatos and Willingham avenging an earlier tiebreaker loss to Topeka West returning Class 5A medalists Caden McGee and Caleb Weybrew, with the Rural duo taking a hard-earned 8-6 victory.

"You never want to lose to your city rivals, so losing in their invitational of course it gives us motivation to practice and try harder and go and play other, better guys afterwards to just prepare for it and then to come back and win is pretty nice,'' Lobatos said. "Winning and sweeping city as a team is great motivation and great momentum going into regionals.''

"It doesn't get any better,'' Willingham said. "Winning now is perfect because we have all the momentum going to regionals. I lost to them last year and I lost to them this year. I was tired of losing and I was so glad we got the win today.'' 

DylanDodgeTennisCity 1Washburn Rural senior Dylan Dodge won the city No. 1 singles championship on Wednesday after winning the No. 2 doubles title as a junior. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

Dodge, who won a city title in No. 2 doubles as a junior, made it two city titles in a row with Wednesday's 8-4 win over Cair Paravel Latin sophomore Drew Fay.

"That was one of the things on the top of my list of goals,'' Dodge said. "To win city is a big achievement I feel like, especially in Topeka, because tennis has a very rich tradition here.

"This is a big confidence boost for regionals and hopefully I can carry this into regionals and state.''

Knudtson added the No. 2 singles crown with an 8-6 win over Topeka West's Mark Cianciarulo while Kohls and Duetscher took an 8-5 win over Seaman's Noah Andrews and Austin Bramlett in the No. 2 doubles final.

Hayden and Cair Paravel will begin two days of 3A-1A regional competition on Thursday in Marysville while the remaining six city teams will compete on Friday.

Rural and Topeka High will compete in a 6A meet in Junction City while Highland Park, Seaman, Shawnee Heights and Topeka West will compete in a 5A meet at Emporia.

The top six regional finishers in singles and doubles will qualify for state tournaments on May 10-11.

The 6A state tournament will be played in Wichita, 5A in Andover and 3A-1A in Prairie Village.

CITY BOYS TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS

At Kossover Tennis Center

Team scores

Washburn Rural 36, Topeka West 26, Seaman 18, Shawnee Heights 18, Hayden 17, Topeka High 16, Highland Park 9, Cair Paravel Latin 7.

Individual results

No. 1 Singles

Championship -- Dylan Dodge, Washburn Rural, def. Drew Fay, Cair Paravel, 8-4.

Third -- James Maag, Topeka West, def. Evan George, Hayden, 8-2. 

No. 2 Singles

Championship -- Keegan Knudtson, Washburn Rural, def. Mark Cianciarulo, Topeka West, 8-6.

Third -- Levi Longstaff, Shawnee Heights, def. Ethan Winters, Seaman, 8-3. 

No. 1 Doubles

Championship -- Lobatos/Willingham, Washburn Rural, def. McGee/Willingham, Washburn Rural, 8-6.

Third -- Luke/Blaser, Hayden, def. Hodges/Raymond, Topeka High, 8-1.

No. 2 Doubles

Championship -- Duetscher/Kohls, Washburn Rural, def. N. Andrews/Bramlett, Seaman, 8-6.

Third -- Engel/Bidwell, Topeka West, def. Ward/Phillips, Shawnee Heights, 8-7 (7-5).

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