Henry Eckold and Jake McFee jumped to an early lead and then staged an important late rally.
In the Class 2 District 15 championship dual, Park Hill’s No. 1 doubles team won the final three games of a 9-7 victory over Park Hill South’s JD Nassab and Nick Classen. That gave the Trojans a doubles sweep, and they wrapped up back-to-back district titles with a 5-0 win Wednesday, May 11 at Barry Park in Kansas City, Mo.
The last doubles match to finish up, Eckold and McFee went up early after Nassab double-faulted the first two points to Park Hill.
However, Park Hill South’s top doubles team led 7-6 late before watching the advantage slip away. Park Hill already had wins from Joel Lesher and Chandler To at No. 2 doubles and Ryan Moise and Matt Zhang at No. 3.
Park Hill led all six singles matches, as well, with McFee wrapping up his 6-2, 6-0 win over Classen and Zhang going 6-2, 6-3 over Andrew Robaska to seal the victory. The Trojans ended up 2-0 against their Suburban Conference Red Division rival on the season.
The two teams advanced with semifinal wins the day before.
Park Hill romped to a 5-0 sweep of Winnetonka, while Park Hill South needed late heroics to set up a district final rematch. Tied at 4-4 with previously unbeaten North Kansas City, the Panthers needed a comeback win for Jason Jeong at No. 4 singles to advance.
Last season, Park Hill triumphed over Park Hill South in a championship dual that spanned two days and two locations. The Trojans (18-3) were much more dominant this season and move on to play Lee’s Summit in a Class 2 sectional Saturday, May 21 in Lee’s Summit, Mo.
The winner advances to play either Liberty (17-2) or Rockhurst (9-1) in a quarterfinal later in the afternoon. Park Hill beat Lee’s Summit three times this season (regular season opener, Mo-Kan Duals final and Park Hill Doubles Tournament final) but lost to Liberty 6-3 in what ended up the defacto Red Division championship match two weeks ago.
Class 2 District 15 individual tournament
The Park Hill schools swept the sectional spots during competition Saturday, May 14 in Liberty, Mo.
Park Hill’s Eckold and McFee ended up defeating teammates Lesher and To in the doubles final 7-6, 2-6, 6-1 with both tandems starting state runs. In singles, Nassab defeated Park Hill South teammate Joe Badalucco 6-3, 6-1 in the championship match with both advancing to sectionals.
Nassab lost just four games in his first two matches at districts to lock up a spot in the championship match and a sectionals berth. Seeded third, Badalucco needed three sets to beat Park Hill’s Martin in the other district semifinal by a score of 6-4, 5-7, 6-4. Martin ended up medaling third.
Eckold and McFee — the Trojans’ top doubles team — lost just five games in the first two victories before needing a third set to hold off their teammates.
Lesher and To were the No. 2 seed and beat North Kansas City’s Jack Pio and Kahn Nguyen — the Hornets’ top doubles team — by a score of 7-6, 7-5 in the other semifinal.
The winner of the District 15 tournaments played the runners-up from District 16 and vice versa in sectionals. Rain pushed those matches, which determine the Class 2 Missouri State Tennis Championships qualifiers, back to Tuesday, May 17 in Liberty, Mo.
For the first time in program history, Park Hill will send two doubles teams to state.
Eckold and McFee nearly shut out Cameron Crockett and Noah Keys of Kearney in a sectional matchup, winning 6-0, 6-1. Lesher and To defeated Aiden Bishop and Aaron Burson of Liberty in two very close sets, 7-6, 7-6.
The state doubles tournament will be held Friday and Saturday, May 27-28 at Cooper Tennis Complex in Springfield, Mo.
In his first sectional singles appearance, Nassab lost 6-0, 6-3 to Liberty’s Owen Owen Mulchey, while Badalucco lost 6-0, 6-0 to District 16 champion Carson Gates of Staley. Nassab qualified for state last year with Josh Robaska as a doubles team, and the duo went on to place seventh at state after losing to the eventual champions in the first round.
In 2015, Eckold went to sectionals as part of a doubles team that lost in three sets. McFee played singles and also lost his state qualifying match last season.
Class 2 District 16 individual tournament
Spencer Kunz reached the semifinals Saturday, May 14 but ended up with a fourth place medal in singles competition.
A junior, Kunz reached the semifinals before losing 6-0, 6-0 to eventual district champion Carson Gates of Staley. Van Hopkins of St. Joseph Central won the third-place match over Kunz 6-1, 6-1.
The season ended for Platte County after the Pirates earned a share of the Suburban Conference Blue Division title the previous week — a first in program history. Zack Regan, Josh Timmons and Andy Day played the final matches of their career during competition.