2021 Boys Tennis Player of the Year: Chrisman's Jordan Twenter realizes state dream
Jordan Twenter knew deep down inside that a three-day span was going to be either the greatest – or the worst – 72 hours in his life.
The William Chrisman High School graduate and The Examiner’s 2021 Boys Tennis Player of the Year had considered just one goal for his senior year – becoming the first Bears player to go to state since Brett Wilson accomplished the feat six seasons ago.
He and his doubles teammate and longtime friend Sam Hawley had hoped to accomplish the feat in 2020, but all spring sports were wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic.
So he knew it was now or never in 2021.
“Over three days, I celebrated a birthday, played in a district tennis tournament that would determine who was going to state, and had prom,” Twenter said. “And as it turned out, it just might have been the best three days of my life.”
The birthday was special, but all he could think about was the Class 2 district tournament in which the two top qualifiers advanced to state.
Twenter got a first-round bye before topping Grain Valley’s Connor Smith 6-3, 6-2 in the quarterfinals and then edging Platte County’s Daunte Alaiwat 6-4, 6-4 in the semifinal.
“That semifinal was crazy,” Twenter said. “I was down 4-3 in the first set and 1-4 in the second and came back and won. And when I won, my brother Austin, who got me interested in tennis when I was in elementary school, was the first one out on the court and he gave me a hug that lasted forever.
“I think it was the first time he’d ever hugged me. Then Sam came out and (Coach Jason) Grubb and we just hugged forever. It was the best feeling in the world.”
He paused for a moment, and added, “And prom was the best!”
Twenter lost the district final in three sets – Gavin Nichols of Platte County won 6-4. 2-6, 6-4 – but he had already punched his ticket to state.
While he went 0-2 at state, losing 6-1, 6-2 to Rafay Cheema of Wentzville Liberty in the first round and 6-3, 6-3 to Cameron Fisher of Lebanon in the first round of consolation play, Twenter had a memory that would last a lifetime.
“My goal was to go to state, and it would have been great to get a win, but I didn’t,” Twenter said. “I worked so hard for four years, and I feel like I represented my school – and my brother, and my teammates, and everyone associated with our program – and I’m proud of that.
“I represented William Chrisman at state. I can live with that and be proud.”
And he’s still a bit stunned by winning the player of the year honor.
“I didn’t even know about that,” he said, grinning. “That is the best way to end the year. Man, what a great honor – because are a lot of great players in the area.”
While Twenter is best known to outsiders as The Examiner’s Player of the Year, he means much more to his Bears family.
Twenter owns a 4.0 GPA and is a member of National Honor Society. An Eagle Scout, he was the male lead in the school musical “Legally Blonde,” and you could not attend a Chrisman activity without seeing him man the press box, run the scoreboard, check fans into sporting events and help clean up after track and field meets.
“Jordan did everything he could possibly do at Chrisman to be involved in everything,” said activities director Greg McGhee, who selected Twenter as one of his student aides. “He spent as much time at school as I did.”
His tennis coach, Jason Grubb, is another Twenter fan.
“I’ve been blessed to work with some great kids – like Jordan and his brother Austin,” Grubb said. “And I am so proud of everything Jordan accomplished this year.”
Twenter was 16-8 in singles and 12-8 in doubles play his senior year. Wilson holds the career wins mark at Chrisman with 74. Twenter is second with 55.
“And that’s 55 without as junior season because of COVID,” Grubb said. “In singles, he went from No. 11 as a freshman, to No. 1 with the injury to Sam (Hawley) his sophomore year. He is a grinder, who works so hard – at practice and his matches.
“When he won that match to go to state, I think Sam and I were as excited as he was. We talked about his goal, and to see him achieve it is a moment I will never forget. I am so honored to work with so many great young men who have had as much of an impact on my life as I hope I have had on theirs.”
Twenter, who videotaped the Chrisman girls basketball team’s trip to the state final four, wants to be a videographer. He will study communications and be a part of the Bethel College tennis team in North Newton, Kan.
“I can’t wait for the challenges that will come in college,” Twenter said. “The past four years at Chrisman have been the best years of my life. Now, I’m excited to see what the next four years bring.”
2021 All-Area Boys Tennis
• Carter McIntosh, soph., Blue Springs South — 14-9 record (4-3 in Suburban Big Eight); fourth place in Class 3 District 7; All-Suburban Big Eight.
• Jordan Twenter, sr., William Chrisman — 16-9 record; Class 2 state qualifier; Class 2 District 8 runner-up; All-Suburban Middle Six first team singles (second team doubles); Belton Tournament singles champion; 2021 Examiner Boys Tennis Player of the Year; signed with Bethel College.
• Carter Compton, jr./Kade Compton, jr., Grain Valley — 24-9 record (5-0 in Suburban Middle Six); Class 2 all-state (seventh place at state tournament); Class 2 District 8 doubles runner-up; helped lead team to undefeated Suburban Middle Six title.
• Grant Idoux, sr./Parker Windhausen, sr., Lee's Summit North — 16-6 record; Class 3 state qualifier (1-2 at state); Class 3 District 6 doubles champion; All-Suburban Big Eight second team.
• Chris Oberkrom, sr./Oliver Welman, jr., St. Michael the Archangel Catholic — 13-6 record; Class 1 all-state (fifth place at state tournament, only loss to state champion duo from Westminster Christian Academy); Class 1 District 13 runner-up.
Blue Springs: Dylan Shryer, jr.; Blue Springs South: Sam Klosener, sr.; Kye Ried, sr.; Grain Valley: Ethan Cary, sr.; Collin Smith, sr.; Connor Smith, sr.; Lee's Summit North: Grant Idoux, sr. (singles); Truman: Nate Morton, sr.; Aaron Muller, sr.; Bryan Veloz, jr.; William Chrisman: Josh Huff, jr.