JASPER — Having beaten Floyd Central 5-0 during the regular season, second-ranked Columbus North went into Saturday’s boys tennis Jasper Semistate as heavy favorites.
The Bull Dogs weren’t quite as dominant as in their previous meeting with the No. 20 Highlanders, but they still rolled to a 4-1 victory to advance to next weekend’s state tournament.
“We did beat them 5-0 (during the season), but we also knew it was not their regular lineup, so we figured they would be a little tougher, which they were,” North coach Kendal Hammel said.
The Bull Dogs (17-1) got off to a fast start, with Nathan Lin beating Isaac Anderson 6-1, 6-0 at No. 1 singles.
“Nathan has been playing really well,” Hammel said. “Today, he lost the first game and then ran 12 games straight. I’m really pleased and proud of how well he’s doing right now.”
North’s Hank Lin downed Ben Lammert 6-3, 6-1 at No. 2 singles. Eric Stavnheim and Parth Shah provided the clinching point with a 6-4, 6-2 win against Braden Poe and Jeremy Mueller at No. 2 doubles.
Floyd Central’s win came at No. 1 doubles, where Landon Hodges and Colin Jacobi topped Matthew Liu and Amrit Kar 6-3, 7-6 (5) at No. 1 doubles.
“1 doubles, their team out came out very well today,” Hammel said. “That was unfortunate that we weren’t able to win that match to state in the tournament. But we were fortunate to win the first three matches right off the bat.”
The Bull Dogs’ final point came from Anvay Atram, who defeated Riley Doddridge 6-3, 6-3 at No. 3 singles.
North now will face No. 9 Munster in the state quarterfinals at noon Friday at Carmel. If the Bull Dogs win, they likely would face top-ranked Carmel, the only team to beat them this season, in the semifinals at 10 a.m. Saturday, also at Carmel.
This is the fourth consecutive year the Bull Dogs have advanced to the state tournament.
“This is probably one of the most strongest teams in all the years I’ve been there,” Hammel said. “I remember when they were in clinics. I’ve given a lot of lessons to these kids and it’s good to see how well they have pushed themselves and become good teammates.”