Millard North's David Liu won't have a perfect record this season.
But a perfect ending to his high school tennis career is still within reach.
The senior's quest for a third consecutive Class A state singles championship begins at 9 a.m. Thursday at Koch Tennis Center. The championship matches are slated for 1 p.m. Friday.
“That would be great. That would make all the work this season pay off,” Liu said. “Hopefully that will help with the team (point) total.”
The Mustangs are expected to be in the mix for the team championship. Millard North's four entries are seeded in the top five. Omaha Creighton Prep, the defending champion, has its four entries seeded in the top three. The Junior Jays have the top seed at No. 2 doubles in Martin Gilgenast and Dillon Ketcham, who are 18-0 this season.
Class A's other top seeds are Danny Clare and Ben TerMaat of Lincoln Southeast at No. 1 doubles and Lincoln Southwest's Alexander Woodward at No. 2 singles. All four of Lincoln Southwest's entries are seeded in the top four.
Last week, Millard North edged Creighton Prep by four points to win the Metro Conference title. Two weeks ago, the Junior Jays nipped Lincoln Southwest and Millard North at the Omaha Westside Invitational.
“With the Lincoln teams, there's a lot of good teams out there,” first-year Mustang coach Dan Bratetic said.
Last year, Liu helped Millard North place third in the team race after he completed his second straight undefeated season. But during this season's opening weekend, Liu was handed an 8-4 loss by Papio South sophomore Chris Dean. It is Liu's only loss in his prep career.
“I think that loss snapped him back to reality and showed that he was going to have to work at it to get this done,” Bratetic said.
Liu has gone on to defeat Dean, who brings a 36-5 record into state, four times this fall.
“He's just a really smart player,” Dean said of Liu. “He knows how to play the big points well, that's really the key for him to have success. He's a really good fighter.”
Liu, who plans to play tennis collegiately but hasn't decided where, said he's been able to get stronger mentally and physically during his time at Millard North. He said his serve has become more of a weapon, and he's trying to come to the net more to pressure opponents.
“As far as his ability goes, he's got a lot of power and can place the ball wherever he wants,” Bratetic said. “But one thing that doesn't always stand out is how fast he is. His foot speed is absolutely incredible. And I've been very pleased with how good of a teammate he is and how good a leader he is.”
Omaha Skutt has the second-seeded players at No. 1 singles and doubles as the SkyHawks will be among the favorites at the Class B state meet in Lincoln.
All four of Skutt's entries are seeded in the top four.
Skylar Lowe, who is 36-7, is the second seed at No. 1 singles behind Landon Warner of Lincoln Pius X. Elkhorn South's Zahler Zandt, who won No. 2 singles last season, is seeded fourth.
Skutt's Andrew Johnson and Zachary Pohlman are seeded second at No. 1 doubles. Johnson was a runner-up at No. 1 doubles last season, while Pohlman placed third at No. 2 doubles.
The defending champions at No. 1 doubles, Holdrege's Jared Karlson and Walker Hohensee, are undefeated and enter state as the top seed.
Elkhorn South, which won the team title last season, has the top seeds at No. 2 singles and doubles. Patrick Thomas, the top seed at No. 2 singles, finished third in No. 1 doubles last season.