McALESTER — McAlester’s streak of state boys’ tennis qualifiers continued Tuesday, when all six members of the Buffs varsity placed high enough at Regionals to advance.
With no regional championships, however, the Buffs will have to face a tougher slate of opponents if they want a good finish at State.
McAlester finished runner-up in two divisions and fourth in two more, placing third overall at Metro Christian’s regional tournament in Tulsa.
“We were a top-four seed at State in all four spots, and all we had to do was play a good Regional,” Buffs coach Chad Waller said Wednesday.
“I’m still optimistic for State, I really am, but literally all season long we played ten times better than we did at Regionals.”
Both of McAlester’s second-place finishes came in divisions in which McAlester received a first-round bye. One-singles player Chance Sistrunk faced Claremore’s Caleb Cotner in the semifinals and won 6-2, 6-1.
Sistrunk then lost to Metro Christian’s Jackson Fine in the finals 6-1, 6-1. Metro Christian went on to win the tournament.
“I just didn’t play well all day,” Sistrunk said. “The kid I was playing just played better than me. No excuses — he just played better than me that day. I didn’t execute the game plan.”
One-doubles team Sam DeNike and Kolten Koonce also received a bye into the semifinals, where they defeated Deer Creek’s Tanner Brown and Cameron Esmon 6-4, 6-4. McAlester won the first set of the championship against Metro Christian’s Jeff McNeal and Christian DeMaio 6-4, then lost the next two sets 6-4, 6-4, to finish second.
“We should’ve won, but we contended,” DeNike said.
“I felt my service game was on, for the most part. And then Koonce moving at the net, being aggressive, kind of clicked for us.”