Baldwin won its first state team tennis title last weekend, but the Bulldogs have won two individual Class 4A singles crowns in a row.
Mix the defending Class 4A state tennis singles champion with a talented newcomer and what do you get?
The first state tennis championship for Baldwin High.
Junior Akiba Medina placed first in singles and sophomore Chad Glover third to lead the Bulldogs to the team title last Saturday at Kossover Center in Topeka.
"We knew we were going to do well this year," Medina said. "We weren't sure exactly what would happen. We were pleased with the outcome and are looking forward to next year."
Medina, playing with strep throat during the two-day tournament, dominated DeSoto's Jay Hemphill, 6-1, 6-0, to claim the singles championship. Glover's 6-3, 0-6, 6-1 loss to Hemphill in the semifinals prevented an all-Baldwin final.
Four days before the state tournament at the 4A regional final in Parsons, Glover defeated Medina, 6-2, 6-3, in the teammates' lone match of the season.
"The score wasn't indicative of the quality of tennis," BHS coach Bill Scott said. "They played 20-minute games."
After weeks of practicing against Glover, Medina enjoyed the regional match with his teammate.
"It's great hitting with Chad in practice because I had the state champion to play against all year," Medina said. "That helped a lot.
"Chad can play all around the court. I mainly just hit from the baseline. I don't do much coming to the net or anything."
Glover, the 4A state singles champion as a freshman when he went 30-0, played through a nagging knee injury all season. He beat Topeka Hayden's Jon Suddarth, 6-2, 6-3, in Saturday's third-place match. Last year, Glover and Suddarth met in the championship.
"This year was tougher," said Glover, who sustained a partially torn ACL last December. "It was kind of an uphill battle all year."
Despite the injury, Glover finished the season with a 21-4 record. Three of those losses came to Ottawa's Greg Philippin, the eventual Class 5A singles champion with a 25-0 record.
"It hurt him mainly from a conditioning standpoint," BHS Scott said of Glover's knee injury. "He couldn't put in the effort in getting in the kind of shape he needed to be in."
Scott said Glover may wait three years before undergoing knee surgery because his growth plates are wide open. Glover's summer tennis will be limited while he rests his knee.
Medina actually attended Baldwin the fall semester of 1994 but left for New York for eighth months to pursue an acting and modeling career.
Medina's acting fame was an appearance on the soap opera "Loving."
"It was nothing major," he said. "I just had one line."
With his acting plans on hold, Medina will be back next with Glover and be favored to repeat in '97. The Bulldogs return their entire varsity team and will add freshman Blake Glover, Chad's brother. The Glover brothers may play doubles next year.
"Our goal next year is definitely what it was this year," Chad said.