From staff reports
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. —
Jeremy Lynn’s singles championship and a strong doubles showing by Edran Ali-Luke Frogge sparked Joplin to a second-place finish Wednesday in the Springfield Invitational prep boys tennis tournament at the Cooper Complex.
Jenks, the perennial Oklahoma power who won the Joplin Invitational two weeks earlier, captured the team crown with 44 1/2 points. The Eagles edged Glendale 29-27 1/2 for second place, and Central (21) and Branson (14) completed the top five in the 26-team event.
Lynn lost only one game while winning his first three matches, and then he beat two players from Jenks in his final two matches — 8-5 over Mitchell Worley in the semifinals and 8-3 over Chase Gordon in the championship round.
“Jeremy started off a little shaky in his early matches to be honest,” Joplin coach Sean McWilliams said. “He won 6-0, 6-0 in the first two matches and I say he was a little shaky, but he was not on his best game the first couple of matches.
“Then he found a groove and had a tough match in the semifinals with Worley, Jenks’ No. 2 player who was No. 1 at the beginning of the season. He didn’t play his best but came out ahead against a strong opponent, and that helped his confidence going into the championship match against Jenks’ No. 1 player and one of the better Missouri Valley players. He played excellent in the championship match.”
Brooks Butler, the Eagles’ other singles entry, won his first match 6-0 before falling in the second round to Gordon of Jenks.
In doubles, Ali-Frogge won their first three matches 6-1 over Glendale, 6-3 over Forsyth and 6-2 over Glendale. They lost in the semifinal round to Alex Antonides-Grant Bond of Jenks 8-4.
The Eagles’ Duncan Ford-Sam Willcoxon won their opening match 7-5 over a team from Cape Girardeau Central but then lost to a Branson team by the same score.
“It was a great day for us,” McWilliams said. “The weather was a big factor. That’s why we only played six-game pro sets (in the early rounds). The change of weather with cold and wind, there were a lot of elements involved in today’s play, and our kids hung in and stayed focused despite going inside and outside.
“I’m proud of our kids for coming in second place. Jenks, as we know, is an elite team and probably the best team in Oklahoma. Second place is pretty good when you finish behind a state champion-level team.”
The Eagles play three matches this weekend in central Missouri. They go to Columbia on Friday to face Hickman at 10 a.m. and Rock Bridge at 2 p.m., and then they play at Jefferson City at 10 a.m. Saturday.