By Jeff Harrison
OKLAHOMA CITY – After a long day, Carl Albert’s boys tennis team was still standing.
The Titans had all six players place at the Class 5A state tournament last Saturday at the OKC Tennis Center.
TJ Niles and Carter Reese led the way with a fourth-place finish at No. 2 doubles. Tyler Shaw took fifth at No. 2 singles, Keegan McLaughlin was sixth at No. 1 singles and the No. 2 doubles team of Luke Fouquette and Ben Sutterfield finished seventh.
The boys played through two weather delays on Saturday. Play was suspended for about 1 ½ hours as the final matches were getting underway. They were delayed again for a few minutes during the final matches. Carl Albert’s team arrived at the OKC Tennis Center about 7:30 a.m. and didn’t leave until about 11:30 p.m.
Coach Shane Farley said he was proud of how his team competed all weekend.
“I felt we played well most of our matches, but we have to improve our overall consistency,” he said. “As a team, we placed where we were seeded. And all our players placed at state, which is not easy.”
Niles and Carter advanced to the semifinals with a pair of wins Friday. They beat Lawton Eisenhower (6-1, 6-0) and Duncan (6-0, 7-6). The duo lost both of their matches Saturday against the top two seeded teams in No. 1 Heritage Hall and No. 2 Cascia Hall.
Fouquette and Sutterfield went 3-2 in the No. 1 doubles division. They opened with a win over Tulsa Edison (2-6, 6-1, 6-4) and lost to Ada (6-1, 6-4). On Saturday, the pair sandwiched a loss to Durant (6-3, 6-4) with wins over Lawton Eisenhower (6-3, 6-3) and Ardmore (6-0, 6-1).
Shaw finished 4-1 in the No. 2 singles competition. The lone blemish was a quarterfinal loss to Ada’s Brady Bacon in three sets (6-3, 4-6, 6-3). Shaw returned Saturday to win three straight. He posted wins over Guthrie’s Carson Olmstead (0-6, 6-4, 10-7), Duncan’s Noah McFatridge (6-4, 6-0) and Claremore’s Cole Merriman (6-0, 6-0).
McLaughlin had a similar path at No. 1 singles. The senior opened with a win over Shawnee’s Kelon Chandler (6-1, 6-0) before falling to Holland Hall’s Porter Arenas (6-0, 6-0). On Saturday, McLaughlin handled Eisenhower’s Aldo Hernandez (6-0, 6-0) and Claremore’s Jesse Choplin (6-4, 6-4), before getting tripped up by Ada’s Halston Redwine in the fifth-place match (6-2, 6-2).
The Titans finished sixth overall. Heritage Hall won three of the four positions and the team championship. Cascia Hall was runner-up.