Park Hill tennis reaches quarters; pair of doubles teams ready for state

Park Hill’s second straight trip to the Class 2 playoffs lasted a bit longer than the first.

With a slightly reshuffled doubles lineup, the Trojans won a sectional matchup Saturday, May 21 in Lee’s Summit, Mo. The quarterfinal matchup with Rockhurst ended in a shutout later the same day, bringing the season to an end.

Last season, Park Hill advanced to the playoffs but lost in sectionals.

In the matchup with Lee’s Summit, the Trojans fell behind 2-1 after doubles. A No. 1 team of Jake McFee and Grant Martin won 8-1, but Park Hill needed a strong singles performance in the third matchup of the season with the Tigers to keep the season alive.

Chandler To (No. 3), Joel Lesher (No. 5) and Matt Zhang (No. 6) delivered with straight sets victories to produce a 5-4 victory.

Rockhurst swept the singles with Park Hill using the same revamped doubles lineup, and the Hawklets won at No. 3 and No. 4 singles to advance to the state semifinals. The Trojans finished the season at 18-4 with losses to two Class 2 state semifinalists (Rockhurst and Rock Bridge) and one Class 1 state semifinalist (Pembroke Hill).

The quarterfinal appearance matches Park Hill’s best ever team finish. The Trojans also reached that round in 2008 and 2010.

Park Hill’s season does continue this week in the Class 2 Missouri State Tennis Championships. Two of the Trojans’ doubles team won individual sectional matchups early last week to qualify for the state bracket.

First round matchups were slated to be released Wednesday, May 25.

Henry Eckold and McFee were the District 16 champions and advanced to sectionals for a second time. However, Eckold’s 2015 appearance came as part of a different doubles team, while McFee came out of districts last year in singles.

Neither advanced last season, and they will make their state debut this week.

To and Lesher lost in three sets to their teammates in the District 16 doubles final but also advanced to sectionals. In their first appearance in that round, they advanced to state with a win against Aaron Burson and Aidan Bishop of Liberty.