As soon as Hunter Hess’ shot hit the net, the Lee’s Summit No. 2 singles player dropped to his knees.
On the other side was Blue Springs South’s Wyatt Walker, who raised his arms in the air, one holding his racket. He had just won a tiebreaker in the second set, winning 6-1, 7-6 (7-4 tiebreaker) to clinch his team’s second consecutive Class 2 District 14 championship with a 5-3 win against Lee’s Summit Wednesday.
“This was amazing,” Walker said. “Especially since we lost to Lee’s Summit earlier in the season. To come out here and beat them is amazing.”
Walker clinched the match after a rally that lasted near a minute. He returned a couple of hard hit balls from Hess, who eventually hit it into the net. It was the second time Walker clinched a district match. He also got the fifth game South needed in a 5-4 victory against Lee’s Summit North in the semifinals.
“I am just thinking, ‘Don’t miss. Don’t miss.’” Walker said of his match sealing point. “Luckily he missed before I did. It was a fantastic match. There is no better feeling than winning it.”
The Jaguars managed that feat despite losing their top three singles players from last season and falling behind 2-1 after doubles play. Luckily, Walker and Patterson Fallis were on top of their games.
Those two teamed up for the first time all year to take a 8-1 win in doubles. Even though it was their first time playing on the same doubles team, they instantly clicked, according to Fallis.
“We really came together,” Fallis said. “We were trying something new before we go to individual districts. He and I have a great connection. Wyatt is such a wonderful player at the net. Both of our serves were on today.”
For Fallis, it was all about consistency as he won his singles match.
“I tried to play extremely conservative and consistent,” Fallis said. “More often than not, the most consistent guy wins.”
Mooney said the win was special because of the senior class that was involved. Four of the five wins were achieved by seniors.
“It’s just awesome to see those senior guys do that and step up,” South head coach Nathan Mooney said. “They took us this far. I knew that we had a good group to replace the three players we lost. Our top three guys this year have been able to spread their wings a little bit.”
One of those was from Chase Klosener, who squeaked out a 7-5, 6-4 win against Colton Hess in the No. 1 singles match. He overcame deficits in both sets.
“That match came down to the last four or five points,” Klosener said. “It was close the entire way. It never felt like he was beating me or that I was beating him.”
While he was playing, South fans were shouting “Let’s go Cheese!” and “Come on Cheese!” So how did the team’s No. 1 player get that nickname?
“Going into my freshman year during summer camp with Lee’s Summit and Blue Springs schools, I ate cheese every single day,” Klosener said. “That’s all I could find in the house before I left for camp. So my coach calls me ‘Cheese’ and my teammates call me ‘Cheese.’ And it’s close to Chase.”
The Jaguars’ other win came from No. 4 Spencer Jorgensen, who earned a 6-2, 6-2 victory. Because they won the district championship, assistant coach Jake Estep agreed to shave his beard down to just a mustache.
“I wasn’t there (when the deal was worked out), but I am so glad he has to wear a mustache,” Walker said.