Scott Elwell hopes the third time is charmed.
The Lawrence High junior will be making his third trip to the Class 6A state tennis tournament today in Topeka.
Elwell, who injured his back during his regional championship run on Monday, qualified for state in doubles his freshman year and placed fourth in singles last season.
Although the draw hasn't been announced yet, Elwell, who has a 19-6 record on the year, will play a fourth-place finisher from another regional because of tournament seeding.
LHS coach Dick Wedel said that didn't mean the first match would be easy.
"He's going to have to play tennis," Wedel said, "but it shouldn't be as challenging. Maybe that will be good to get his back warmed up, but we're not taking anybody lightly."
Wedel said Elwell's back injury shouldn't be an issue and was the result of problems with another part of his body.
"He has to take a little better care of himself," Wedel said. "He's had a couple of treatments from the trainer and some stretching, but it seems to be a matter of tight hamstrings rather than any real damage."
Lawrence's doubles team of junior Owe Rambau and senior Jon Weygint will join Elwell at the tournament thanks to a fourth-place regional finish.
"We had a couple of really good practices this week," Wedel said. "The guys are pretty psyched. I think that Owe and Jon are playing better in practice yesterday and today than they did in the regional tournament. And they played better in the regional tourney than they did in the league tournament."
The two have played just 14 matches together, going 9-5, but Wedel said their communication and play had progressed nicely.
"They're getting to know each other," he said. "We've been stressing a couple of things that I think they need to do better in order to be a better team, and they seem like they're buying it. They were doing what I expect a good doubles team to do."
The tournament begins at 12:30 p.m. today at the Kossover Tennis Center at Felker Park.