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Doubles team rolls at HHS Invitational

By AUSTIN COLBERT

acolbert@dailynews.net

Hays High School senior Austin Berry and junior Andrew McGinnis are well-established doubles players from previous seasons on the Indians' tennis team.

But entering 2014, the pair decided they would try their luck at singles instead. In Hays High's season opening meet in McPherson on March 31, Berry and McGinnis each went 1-2 as individuals and realized maybe the single life wasn't for them.

"When the season started, in their head they are just like, 'I want to play singles, I want to play singles.' They didn't even think about doubles," Hays High tennis coach Megan Quinley said. "Then as this week kind of went on, we were thinking about the best chance of making it to state and doing good in regionals and singles is pretty stacked. So they were like, 'Let's just try doubles.' "

While Berry and McGinnis have spent their entire high school tennis careers as doubles players outside of the McPherson tournament this year, the two had never played together until this week.

Despite only having a couple of practices as doubles partners to go on, the duo's debut on Tuesday at the Hays High Invitational was a smashing success. As the Indians' No. 1 doubles tandem on the Gold team, they cruised to a 4-0 record with wins over Liberal (8-4), Great Bend (8-3), Abilene (8-6) and the Hays High Maroon team (8-0).

"They came out and they rocked it. They played very well together. I'm very proud," Quinley said. "I think if they would have played bad today they would have had in their head, 'Oh, I'm better at singles.' But since they came out and proved to themselves they can play together, and it was fun and they enjoyed it, I think doubles might be the answer."

The tournament, originally scheduled for Monday but pushed back a day due to weather, was the Indians only home meet of the season and first since McPherson.

As a unit, Hays High's Gold team, which features its varsity athletes, took fourth place with 11 points. Abilene won the invitational with 17 points, followed by Liberal (15 points) and Great Bend (12 points). Hays High's Maroon team, mostly its JV players, failed to score.

With only three returning players from last year -- Berry, McGinnis and sophomore Mikey Ploutz, the No. 1 singles player -- the Indians look to be very top heavy this season.

But if Berry and McGinnis can continue to gel as doubles partners, the Indians have hope they can make a run during regionals and possibly wind up in the Class 5A state tournament in May.

"I didn't know how me and Austin would play together," McGinnis said. "We feel pretty confident. We have good chemistry and we talk well. So we are looking to stay together for the rest of the season."

The Indians will have three meets in five days next week, beginning with a trip to Abilene on Tuesday. They also travel to Salina South on April 24 and Garden City on April 26.