The Jennings County boys tennis team traveled to Whiteland with half of its varsity lineup Saturday, and Panthers coach Deron Brown said it felt good to have the entire team back from injury in Monday’s Hoosier Hills Tournament match against Columbus East.
Jennings’ No. 1 singles player, Weston Miller, was out with back problems and just recently found out from his chiropractor that the discs in his back are getting closer together. Miller’s back problems did not stop him from beating the Olympians’ Jackson Stevens 6-1, 6-1 to help the Panthers get the 5-0 victory.
Jennings (6-6) will host Jeffersonville in Wednesday’s semifinals, while the Olympians (2-13) will host Bedford North Lawrence in the consolation round. Both teams will be at home for placement-round matches Friday.
Miller sat on the bleachers after his match icing his back that he said was aching. Fatigue also was a factor for Miller in his first game back.
“I just kind of played through it,” Miller said. “I just tried to keep my head in it and kept trying to do my best.”
The Panthers’ Wyatt St. John was playing in his second match back from an elbow injury, and he managed to get the first point of the day at No. 3 singles by beating Jalen Pleak 6-1, 6-0. Jennings’ Luke Miller beat Thomas Schuler 6-1, 6-1 at No. 2 singles.
The Panthers Justin Gasper and Kent Biehle beat Nathan Hatchett and Pranav Kumar fell to 7-6, 6-2 at No. 1 doubles. Briar Davis and Cody St. John downed Caige Comstock and Bryce Buening 6-0, 6-3 at No. 2 doubles.
“I’m happy with the effort,” Brown said. “Anytime you can get some kind of momentum going, it’s a good thing. Anytime you can play and get some matches in with good weather, it’s a good day.”
Buening was nursing an arm injury that flared up about halfway through the match. He was limited to just hitting his serves and stepping back as he pushed his way through. Comstock was left to try and fill the void of Buening’s injury.
East coach Matt Malinsky liked his team’s effort, but said it is a little disappointing knowing that the best the Olympians can do in the conference is fifth place.
“Hopefully, we can regroup and try to bring that same fight in the next round,” Malinsky said. “We just have to take our lumps right here and try to let it go and refocus for the next round. We have a couple of days to refocus for that and hopefully on Wednesday, we’ve got the goods.”