LINCOLN—Elkhorn Mount Michael tennis coach Chase Peterson called his group of six seniors special.
On Friday, those six seniors stepped up for the Knights at state. They all reached for the finals and captured their second straight Class B state championship at Woods Tennis Center.
“It’s been a special year,” Petersen said. “They worked really hard in the offseason, and it showed today.”
One of those seniors was Gavin Forster. Forster battled from behind to defeat McCook’s Isaac Hinze in straight sets to win the title in No. 1 singles.
Forster transferred to Mount Michael from Creighton Prep last year. He is the second Knight to win in No. 1 singles in school history after Isaac Gart won the previous two years.
“He’s a fighter,” Peterson said. “He was an amazing transfer, but he fit in better than any transfer I have ever seen. The boys just took him in as part of the team, and coaching him was as easy as it gets.”
Forster took the first set but fell behind 3-2 in the second. He needed to regain momentum for a crucial stretch of the match when something clicked.
“I told myself I had the wind switching sides and I was confident,” Forster said. “Coach told me to just hit the ball and hit my strokes, and it helped out.”
The No. 1 doubles team of Will Mallisee and Ethan Pental grinded out a back-and-forth third set to clinch their title run and the team title.
“We came out every invite, every meet, and did our best,” Forster said. “It was special for all of us to win this year, and we all came out here and poured our hearts out.”
Peterson harped on one thing before the finals in the afternoon.
“Fight for every point and you are here for a team,” he said. “You should be proud of everything you have done this season.”
Mount Michael will have a new look next year, but it has a squad waiting to try and capture a third straight championship.
“In a perfect world (we keep winning),” Peterson said. “We are going to have a good team next year, but it will be different.”
Omaha Skutt had an individual champion in Avelino Hanmer at No. 2 singles. Hanmer defeated Mount Michael’s Sam Lund 6-4, 6-4 in the final.
Team scores: Elkhorn Mount Michael 56, McCook 42.5, Omaha Skutt 38.25, Grand Island CC 33.5, Elkhorn North 21.5, Lexington 20.5, Beatrice 16.25, Kearney Catholic 16.25, York 15.25, Crete 15, Hastings 10.5, Nebraska City 10, Scottsbluff 10, Waverly 8.5, Lincoln Christian 8.25, South Sioux City 8, Omaha Brownell Talbot/Omaha Concordia 6, Elkhorn 6, Omaha Gross 6, Ralston 6, Alliance 4, Holdrege 4, Adams Central 2, Gering 2, Omaha Roncalli 2.
Individual top six: No. 1 singles: 1, Gavin Forster, EMM, def. Isaac Hinze, McCook, 6-3, 6-4. 3, Aidan McDowell, Crete, def. Robert Seaton, OS, 7-6 (6), 6-0. 5, Andrew Hammer, York, def. Brayden Schram, H, 9-7. No. 2 singles: 1, Avelino Hanmer, OS, def. Sam Lund, EMM, 6-4, 6-4. 3, Austin Staab, GICC, def. Lincoln Michaelis, McCook, 6-2, 6-2. 5, Carson Vachal, Wav, def. Ethan Phinney, York, 8-4. No. 1 doubles: 1, William Mallisee-Ethan Pentel, EMM, def. Evan Humphrey-Nathaniel Miller, McCook, 6-3, 6-7 (3), 6-4. 3, Jackson Henry-Jonathan Schardt, GICC, def. Gavin Brummond-Alexander Churchill, OS, 6-4, 7-5. 5, Jon Doscher-Ian Ambrust, EN, def. Ethan Mins-Agustin Lopezibarra, Lex, 8-4. No. 2 doubles: 1, Bowdie Fox-Alex King, GICC, def. Colin-Eich-Eric Kaps, EMM, 7-6 (5), 7-5. 3, Luke Butler-Sheamus Sinnott, EN, def. Dru Truax-Christopher Swartz, Lex, 7-6 (0), 6-1. 5, Payton Dellevoet-Joel Miller, McCook, def. Kayden Lynch-Nathaniel Baker, OS, 8-5.