Dylan Lynch and Chase Strong were secured a sudden death round in the No. 1 single match when word came from the court behind them that the Class 1 District 11 tennis competition was finished.
Monett’s Angel Salas before long showed up with the uplifting news: the Cubs were area champions.
Salas, the group’s No. 4 players, pulled off a 6-2 win in the definitive third set against Mt. Vernon’s Alvin Reid to give the Cubs a 5-3 triumph on the day and the school’s first region title in quite a while tennis since 1980.
“It surprised me,” Monett No. 1 Dylan Lynch said. “I heard them clapping over there and thought maybe something good just happened. I didn’t know we’d just won it.”
“I think I hit a volley and I spiked it and he couldn’t get it,” Salas said.
“It was amazing,” he said. “I’ve been playing tennis for the past four years and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do here.”
Monett opened the day by winning two out of three pairs of matches for an early benefit. Ethan Kutz and Salas knocked off Curtis Meyer and Isaac Burks 8-4 in the No. 2 matches and Heisman Welch and Jackson Young won 8-6 against Reid and Justin Moore in the third match.
Mt. Vernon’s couple of Strong and Isaac Barker won 8-6 against Lynch and Ben Hoyt in No. 1 duplicates.
“Our game plan was to start out winning all three of our doubles matches and get a couple wins in singles to close the deal,” Monett coach Jason Smith said. “That was the only surprise, that we didn’t and our No. 1 doubles didn’t win their match and they’re the ones going on to sectionals for doubles. That was a little surprise but I knew if we didn’t get all three we’d eventually get it in the singles because they’re just that tough of a team.”
Monett kept up its force in singles play, with Young winning 6-3 in his previously set in the No. 6 matches. He proceeded to overcome Burks 6-3, 7-6 (7-4). Hoyt added another success in No. 3 singles, overcoming Meyer 7-6 (7-3) and 6-4.
Mt. Vernon’s successes came in the No. 2 matches where Barker won 6-3, 6-1 against Kutz, and at No. 5 where Moore won 6-2, 6-0 against Welch.
That left Monett with a 4-3 lead and No. 1 and No. 4 singles actually playing. As Lynch and Strong began a sudden death round at No. 1, Salas polished off Reid 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 to secure the title.
“I just knew at the beginning of the season that we had something special,” Smith said. “We’re very athletic. All of them have played multiple sports and I knew they’d been in clutch situations and when it came down to this we’d be successful because of that prior experience we’ve had in other sports. It wasn’t just me saying c’mon, we’ve got to practice harder, it was them motivating themselves to be successful.”
“It’s amazing,” Salas said. “2021, it’s a good year and I’m just happy we could get it done.”
The Cubs were cultivated second in the competition after a 7-4 customary season and knocked off Aurora 5-0 on Monday in the elimination rounds. Top-cultivated Mt. Vernon beat Clever 5-1 on Monday and went 7-5 in the ordinary season.
It was Monett’s first appearance in a locale title in at any rate 10 years. The Mountaineers completed as region sprinters up in 2016, 2012, and 2011.
“Very disillusioned,” Mt. Vernon mentor Tom Cox said. “Folks have endeavored to arrive and the most recent couple of years we haven’t been really solid. We completed the year with a triumphant record, we won the Mt. Vernon competition and completed second in the Monett competition. We have two people who have equipped for singular sectionals.”
“Super disappointed,” he said. “Guys have worked hard to get here and the last few years we haven’t been super strong. We finished the year with a winning record, we won the Mt. Vernon tournament and finished second in the Monett tournament. We’ve got two guys who have qualified for individual sectionals.”
Monett will confront Bolivar on May 17 in the Class 1 sectional round.