Boys tennis repeats as sectional champions


Derek Wang

Playing two duals in one day at sectionals, the Bruin tennis team advanced to their 14th straight Final Four with wins over Springfield Central and Glendale. Easily defeating Springfield Central  5-0, RBHS had a slightly tougher time with Glendale, winning with a score of 5-2.
At No. 1, senior Rohit Rao went 2-1 on the day, defeating both Springfield Central and Glendale in doubles, but losing in singles to Glendale while RBHS clinched the win against Springfield Central before he finished his match. Rao said that Glendale was the much tougher opponent.
“Glendale’s No. 1 is a University of Nebraska commit,” Rao said.”They are deeper overall, and they have a lot more energy and fight.”
Although they handily defeated both schools, the RBHS tennis team is preparing for their upcoming dual against rival Rockhurst, the only team to defeat RBHS in the regular season. Losing 0-9, RBHS hopes to turn that around this time, striving for the elusive state title.
Sophomore John Swift, going 2-0 on the day, said that the team has been practicing the same as usual, getting ready for another chance at defeating the incumbent state champions.
“The score of that match wasn’t indicative of how close that match was,” he said. “We’re really closely matched already and we know we can win. Nobody expects us to win, so we can just go in there with a chip on our shoulder and get that state title.”
For some of the team, this will also be their first time playing in the Final Four. Sophomore Keerthivaas Premkumar, going 1-0, played JV last year, while freshmen Ashwath Elangovan and Lincoln Wasden made varsity their first year, although Wasden only plays varsity doubles.
Premkumar said that he is very excited to play and confident that he and his team can succeed at State.
“I know we have a good chance of winning and placing deep at state,” Premkumar said. “I want to be a strong part of the team and the success of the team.”
For others, this will be their last time playing at State. Senior Vaughn Mueller and Rao, already graduated, hope that they can lift the first place trophy one last time. Rao, part of the 2013 team that last won state for RBHS, said that he wants to end his time with the Bruins with a win.
“I want it more than ever,” Rao said. “This is my last chance to get the gold.”
By Derek Wang
Photo by Deanna Dikeman