• Jags roll to third straight title

  • The only thing missing from Blue Springs South's third consecutive Class 2 District 14 tennis championship at Young Park was drama.

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  • The only thing missing from Blue Springs South's third consecutive Class 2 District 14 tennis championship at Young Park was drama.
    For the second day in a row, coach Sheri Rehmer's Jaguars needed less than two hours to defeat their opponent. This time it was a 5-0 rout of Lee's Summit North to claim the district championship. South topped Truman 5-0 Tuesday to advance to Wednesday's championship round.
    In district tennis, the first team to claim five victories is declared the winner.
    Paul Province kicked off the rout with a 6-0, 6-3 win over Austin Nicholas at No. 1 singles. Lake Kinzel added a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Tom Faulkenberry at No. 3 singles; Jared Martin topped Jimmy Bertken 6-2, 6-1 at No. 4 singles; and freshman Nic Mandina defeated Alex Smith 6-3, 6-2 at No. 6 singles.
    With all his teammates watching, senior Alec Barber overcame a slow start to slip past Anthony Imes 6-3, 6-2 to wrap up the Jaguars’ third straight championship.
    “It's the third year in a row I've been the last guy on the court,” said Barber, who was taking some good-natured ribbing from his teammates. “I like to clinch it; I just wish I could have done it a little sooner.
    “I had the chance to put him away at 5-1 and 30-all when I had a big overhead shot that I should have put away, but I hit it right into the net. He won, which made it 5-2, but I came back and won the next game in four quick points.
    “It's pretty special to be a part of three straight district championships.”
    Province, a junior, can possibly be a part of four in a row next year and Mandina has his sight set on four consecutive conference titles, too.
    “After we beat Truman yesterday there was a lot of excitement at the high school, students and teachers coming up and asking us about the win and how we thought we would do against North,” Province said.
    “We sent a message to ourselves yesterday – take care of business, don't mess around, just win. And that message and the momentum from yesterday's win carried over to today. I get to come back next year and I hope we can do it again. But now, I'm going to enjoy this one.”
    Mandina said his serving game played a key role in his victory.
    “My second serve was on,” the freshman said. “It's just amazing to be part of a district championship team as a freshman. Paul has the chance to be on four in a row next year, and I hope I have the chance to be on four in a row when I'm a senior in three years.”
    Page 2 of 2 - When asked about the keys to success, Mandina didn't hesitate: “We have two great coaches, we work hard and stay after practice to work on our game and we like each other.”
    No one was more pleased with the victory than retiring coach Sheri Rehmer, who has enjoyed a big week as her son Nick placed second at sectionals in golf to advance to the state golf tournament for the first time.
    “I wish everyone was a little bit more excited,” Rehmer said, “but there's not a lot of excitement when you don't even reach doubles for the second day in a row. I feel bad for Brent Henderson. His opponent was taking a test today so he didn't get to play, and yesterday he was still on the court when we wrapped it up (with our fifth victory).
    “These guys have worked hard and really deserve this win. I'm proud of them.”
    Follow Bill Althaus on Twitter: @AlthausEJC

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