Tigers have eyes on taking seconds

Thursday, May 12, 2005

It's not often a coach is satisfied with a second-place finish.

But Central tennis coach Bud Craven would be pleased as punch with three second-place finishes in today's MSHSAA Class 2 District 1 Tournament in Cape Girardeau.

The real battles today likely will be for second place, as Lindbergh is expected to defend its team title as well as win the individual singles and doubles championships. The Flyers have a trio of juniors who have all been state qualifiers since they were freshmen.

"Lindbergh will walk away with it," Craven said. "We just hope to get second."

The top two teams from each of the eight districts throughout the state advance to sectional competition.

The district tournament also qualifies individuals directly to the MSHSAA Tournament, which will be May 27 and 28 at the Cooper Tennis Complex in Springfield, Mo.

The top two singles players and top two doubles teams from each district move on to the state competition.

If the seeds hold true, Central will have its first singles player in the 2000's at state as well as a doubles team.

Senior Kevin Rohatgi is the No. 2 seed in singles behind Lindbergh standout Kyle O'Leary.

"Kevin is not going to beat O'Leary, but he doesn't have to to get to state," Craven said. "He has done well all season long and we are hoping for second place at district."

Rohatgi has lost only three matches, all close ones, during the regular season. His likely opponent in the pivotal semifinal match would be third-seeded Brad Allison of Rockwood Summit. Those players have not met this season. Austin Kearney of Webster Groves is the fourth seed in singles.

Lindbergh also has the defending district doubles champions in Kyle Tosie and Josh Nezam. They are the top seed with Central juniors Carson Kelley and David Deisher the No. 2 seed.

"Those two have been playing together since they were freshmen," Craven said of Kelley and Deisher. "They are both tall and lanky kids."

If Kelley and Deisher make it to state, they will be the fifth doubles team from Cape Central to do so since 2000. Trevor Blattner went to state three times in doubles, with Mick Metzger in 2000 and with Andy Tansil in 2001 and 2002. Heath Orr and Will Ramsey played at state in 2003. Central did not have any state qualifiers in either singles or doubles last year.

Matt Biebel and Brad Flick of Webster Groves are seeded third in doubles, while Zack Swyers and Taylor Zak of Mehlville are seeded fourth.

The one-day tournament will start at 9 a.m. at both Central High School's and Southeast Missouri State's courts.

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