TERRE HAUTE —
Could the Indiana High School Athletic Association actually have come up with a perfect sectional draw?
That appears to be the case for this week’s boys high school tennis sectional at Terre Haute North, where there’s a great match in each of the three preliminaries.
The championship? Probably not as good, however.
Today’s 5 p.m. opener pits North Central against Sullivan, a rivalry that would be compelling in virtually any circumstance but is especially so with these two tennis teams this fall.
The winner of that match comes back on Thursday to face a West Vigo team trying to extend its school-record win total to 20. The Vikings have beaten both the Thunderbirds and Golden Arrows, but neither by very much.
And, of course, the other semifinal match on Thursday is the host Patriots against Terre Haute South.
It’s premature to call the North-South match the championship — that will be played at 2 p.m. Saturday — but the reality is that West Vigo’s only two losses (the Vikings beat the other two teams, remember) came to the Braves and Patriots, and both were by 5-0 scores.
South’s Braves come in with a 15-4 record and ranked 14th in the state, while the Patriots are an uncharacteristic 6-9.
But coach Bob Denny of North points out that the Braves have had some losses recently — they were once ranked as high as fourth in the state — and he isn’t about to sell his team short.
“South is a very good team,” Denny pointed out. “I think we can win, but our guys have to believe in themselves and play smart … we have to start out well.
“We’ll give great effort, I’m sure.”
North’s hopes lie with its doubles teams — No. 1 doubles should be a great match between North’s Keaton Akers and Justin Newton and South’s Reed Crawford and Trace Harruff — and with Grant Potts at No. 3 singles.
South hasn’t had the services of No. 1 singles player Nathan Bogle all the time recently either, although coach Bill Blankenbaker of the Braves is confident.
“He’ll play,” Blankenbaker said of Bogle, who has had to retire from some recent matches with back issues. “He’s been aggravating [his back] most of the season.”
The fact that South won’t have to play more than one match a day should help Bogle, Blankenbaker agreed.
“I expect good things at No. 1 and No. 2 [where Krishan Kumar has had a great season],” the South coach predicted.
“No. 3 [Scott Kellar vs. Potts] will be a good match, our No. 1 doubles is playing better, and our No. 2 doubles [Matt Gonzalez and Luke Yeagley] was undefeated at the [Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference tournament].”
North will counter with Andrew Farmer at No. 1 singles, Harry Williams at No. 2 and with a No. 2 doubles team of Lucas Davis and Luke Dugger.
Wabash Valley boys tennis sectionals
At Terre Haute North
Today — North Central vs. Sullivan, 5 p.m.
Thursday — Terre Haute North vs. Terre Haute South and West Vigo vs. today’s winner, 5 p.m.
Saturday — Championship, 2 p.m.
Today — Northview vs. Owen Valley, 4:30 p.m.
Thursday — South Vermillion vs. South Putnam, 4:30; Greencastle vs. today’s winner, 6 p.m.
Friday — Championship, 4:30 p.m.
Today — North Montgomery vs. Turkey Run, 5 p.m.
Thursday — Rockville vs. Crawfordsville and Southmont vs. today’s winner, 5 p.m.
Friday — Championship, 5 p.m.
At North Daviess
Today — Bloomfield vs. White River Valley, 5 p.m.
Thursday — Linton vs. North Daviess, 5 p.m.
Friday — Championship, 5 p.m.