Park Hill tennis team season ends with sectional loss

Five seniors from Park Hill played their final match together as a team last week.

The Trojans were upended 5-2 in a Class 2 sectional matchup with Liberty on Thursday, May 18 in Liberty, Mo., denying them a second straight trip to the quarterfinals. The Blue Jays took a 2-1 lead out of doubles and won three of the first four singles matches to advance.

Park Hill lost the previous matchup during the regular season between the two teams 5-4.

In the rematch, Park Hill senior Chandler To and sophomore Cooper Hayes fought back from a 5-0 deficit to steal an important win at No. 2 doubles. The Trojans needed a tiebreaker to earn the victory, setting up some momentum going into singles.

Jake McFee, a senior, played at No. 1 in this matchup but the slightly altered lineup couldn’t do enough to reverse the previous dual result. Hayes held on for a win at No. 2, but Liberty won out elsewhere to end Park Hill’s season. The Trojans finished at 16-5.

In addition to To and McFee, Grant Martin, Matt Zhang and Ryan Decker also played their final team matches for Park Hill.

The season does continue for McFee and Martin and To and Hayes in individual play. Earlier in the week, Park Hill’s top two doubles teams won Class 2 Sectional 8 individual matches to qualify for the Missouri State Tennis Championships.

Brackets had not been released as of The Citizen’s deadline, but both teams will open play Friday, May 26 at Cooper Tennis Complex in Springfield, Mo.

McFee and To are second-time state doubles qualifiers, although they haven’t been 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.