Park Hill tennis doubles team end up in same state medal match

Park Hill’s two Class 2 Missouri State Tennis Championships qualifying doubles team ended their year together.

Over the weekend, the tandems of seniors Jake McFee and Grant Martin and senior Chandler To and sophomore Cooper Hayes advanced to the medal rounds of the bracket. They ended up facing off in the seventh-place match Saturday, May 27 at Cooper Tennis Complex in Springfield, Mo.

Just like in the Class 2 District 8 final a few weeks earlier, McFee and Martin prevailed — this time 6-2, 6-4 to claim seventh place. To and Hayes came in eighth.

All four players were first-time state medalists.

The teams took almost identical paths through the state tournament. Both opened with losses to teams from powerhouse Rock Bridge, which won the Class 2 team title earlier in the week.

Martin and McFee won 6-4, 6-4 over Rockhurst’s Owen Dixon and Graham Colombo in the consolation bracket and then beat Parkway Central’s Cody Zhang and Casey Goodman 6-4, 6-3 to guarantee a medal. To and Hayes — Park Hill’s No. 2 duo — were even more dominant in the consolation bracket, winning 6-4, 6-3 against Republic’s Case Birlew and Hunter Creek and then 6-1, 6-1 over Parkway Central’s John Kim and Jacob Liebman to make the top eight.

Both teams entered play Saturday with a chance to earn fifth, but both lost their first match of the day to fall into the seventh-place match, setting up another all Park Hill matchup.

Park Hill (16-5) played five seniors in its top six this year and won a third straight Class 2 District 16 title, beating Platte County in the final. The Trojans’ season ended with a loss to Liberty in team sectionals, but the two doubles teams advanced to the individual district final and then won Sectional 4 matchups to earn trips to state.

McFee and To were second-time state doubles qualifiers, although they weren’t paired together either time, while Martin and Hayes advanced to state for the first time. They met in the Class 2 District 16 final with McFee and Martin winning in straight sets.

Last season, To teamed with departed senior Joel Lesher on a district runner-up team. McFee was partnered with 2016 No. 1 Henry Eckold on the district champion tandem.

Both Park Hill team’s went 1-2 at state a year ago.