They squared off in their season-opening tournament final. They met during last week’s conference tournament. In between, they played five other matches.
Seniors Gavin Forster of Elkhorn Mount Michael and Robert Seaton of Omaha Skutt know each other very well. If the top two seeds in No. 1 singles at the Class B tournament meet for an eighth time this season, it would be in Friday’s final.
“He’s definitely my strongest competition, it’s always fun to play him,” said top-seeded Forster, who has won six meetings. “We’re always close and it’s always a good match.”
Forster brings a 38-4 record to state, Seaton is 38-9. Their only other losses this season are to Class A players seeded in the top five at state.
Mount Michael coach Chase Peterson said “it’s fun tennis to watch” when Forster and Seaton meet because they know they need to elevate their level of play.
“We know what each other likes to do and how we like to play,” Seaton said.
That’s also how it was for Seaton against Mount Michael’s top singles player last season. Seaton, who played doubles as a freshman and sophomore, faced two-time state champ Isaac Gart plenty when Seaton finished third at state.
“I feel like I’m playing well,” Seaton said. “Last year helps a lot. I think I’m ready and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Mount Michael won last year’s title by 1.125 points over Skutt. The Knights come in this week as the favorite with their other three entries seeded second. All six are seniors. That includes Colin Eich and Eric Kaps, the defending champs at No. 2 doubles, and Will Mallisee and Ethan Pentel, who were runners-up at No. 1 doubles.
“It’s been super helpful to have them return to the spots. You don’t have to do much changing,” Peterson said. “We only have six (seniors) on the team, so for them to hold the spots have been pretty exciting.
“If we keep on the road we’ve been going, good things will happen.”
All four Skutt entries are seeded in the top four — Avelino Hanmer is the No. 1 seed at No. 2 singles. McCook also will be in the mix with the top seed at No. 1 doubles (Evan Humphrey and Nathaniel Miller) and the third seed at No. 1 singles. Grand Island Central Catholic has the top seed at No. 2 doubles and the third seeds at No. 1 doubles and No. 2 singles.