Henry Eckold and Jake McFee opened with a very important win but couldn’t keep the momentum going.
Competing in the Class 2 Missouri State Tennis Championships for the first time, Park Hill’s top doubles team needed just one more win to earn a doubles medal Friday, May 27 at Cooper Tennis Complex in Springfield, Mo. Instead, the Trojans left state without a top eight finisher bringing a disappointing end to a successful season.
Eckold and McFee and teammates Joel Lesher and Chandler To both went 1-2 in the state bracket over the weekend after Park Hill qualified two doubles teams for the first time in program history.
In the first round, Eckold and McFee won a 6-2, 6-3 matchup with Holt’s AJ Lanjua and Lake Feldmen, while Lesher and To immediately fell into the consolation bracket. Park Hill’s No. 2 doubles team then kept its tournament alive with a 6-4, 7-6 (7-6) tiebreaker win against Francis Howell’s Matthew Pulcine and Joel Jenkins.
Both Park Hill teams ended up in the consolation quarterfinals after Eckold and McFee lost their quarterfinal, dropping the second set in a tiebreak and unable to force a third and deciding set.
Lesher and To lost 6-2, 6-1 to Kavin Anand and Luke Bouchard of Rock Bridge — the eventual eighth-place finishers. Eckold and McFee went to a third set against Rock Bridge’s Kavin Anand and Luke Bouchard, who went on to finish sixth.
Park Hill finished the regular season second in the Suburban Conference Red Division behind Liberty, but the Trojans went on to win the Class 2 District 15 championship for a second straight season. They advanced to the quarterfinals before losing to Rockhurst.
The Trojans finished the season at 18-4 in duals with three of the losses coming against Class 1 state runner-up Pembroke Hill, Class 2 state champion Rock Bridge and Class 2 state runner-up Rockhurst.
McFee and Eckold advanced to individual sectionals for the second straight year after winning the District 15 title over Lesher and To. All four players for the Trojans on the state qualifying doubles teams made their state debuts.