SM Northwest tennis heats up, topples two Olathe schools
Back-to-back Wednesday and Thursday matches didn’t prove too exhausting for a fit and deep Shawnee Mission Northwest boys tennis team last week as the Cougars dispatched both Olathe Northwest and Olathe East on consecutive nights.
After overwhelming the Ravens 9-0 on Wednesday, the Northwest netters set their sights on Olathe South, a team that SMNW coach Ken Clow said hadn’t been defeated by the Cougars in recent memory. That all changed Thursday.
The Cougars collected five singles victories and three doubles wins to overpower the Falcons, 8-4, Thursday and improve their overall record in duals to 3-2 on the young season. Northwest was led by the 1-2 punch of senior Max Wiebrecht and junior Calvin Garland who each claimed victories in their respective singles slots before teaming up for an 8-1 victory in doubles. Wiebrecht claimed his singles win with an 8-4 performance while Garland swept his South opponent in a tiebreaker set, 8-7.
Other singles winners included junior Chris D’Silva (8-2), sophomore Conner Holmes (8-4) and senior Vick Gabindarajan (8-6).
Doubles winners included Holman and sophomore Boris Huston (8-5) and D’Silva and junior Bradley Bonada (8-4).
On Wednesday, all the Northwest singles and doubles players were victorious including junior Arjun Kumar (8-0) and Huston. Doubles wins were thrown in by all pairings, including Kumar and junior Hunter Holman (8-2) and sophomore Conner Homan with D’Silva (8-5).
Clow said he sees his squad as being among the top teams in the Sunflower League this season and credits great depth among his top players as the reason.
“We’re playing well for one thing,” Clow said, “but we’re pretty deep, really. I mean, Chris D’Silva was our number one coming out of tryouts — that was before Max was able to try out — and now he’s number five (on the singles ladder). We can move guys up or down.”
Clow also credits an early-season loss with helping his team focus. After losing to Blue Valley North, 7-5, Clow called his team together to talk about the positives and negatives of their performance.
“After Blue Valley North we talked about what worked and what didn’t,” Clow said. “One of our guys said that in one of the matches, even though North was more talented, we won because we were more consistent. Boris then stood up and said he lost his match because he quit playing to win. I asked him if it was ever going to happen again and he said, ‘No.’ He’s only lost once since.”
Though the Cougars haven’t played anyone in their district nor their region yet, Clow is confident they will be able to compete with the best.
“I know Shawnee Mission East is always strong,” Clow said, “and Shawnee Mission West has a decent number one (singles player) who’s a freshman. Other than that, I don’t know what everybody else has. I think we’re going to be fairly strong this year. We’re pretty competitive. We don’t give up on shots much.
“We’re hanging in there and playing as hard as we can.”
After Monday’s match with Olathe North, the Cougars were scheduled to square off against St. Thomas Aquinas on Tuesday. Results from those matches were unavailable at press time.
On Saturday, the Cougars will finally see some district and regional competition as they take part in the Shawnee Mission District meet at various locations throughout the school district.