Topeka Free State High snared the first Class 6A boys regional tennis title in school history Monday, winning the eight-team tournament at Kossover Center.
The Firebirds, who were led by the second-place singles showing of senior Keith Pipkin and third-place doubles effort of junior Jack Hull and sophomore Charlie Moffet, totaled nine points, winning a tense tiebreaker over Olathe Northwest.
Lawrence High, which received a first-round singles victory from Ryan Robinson and first-round doubles victory from Thomas Nieto and David Nieto, placed sixth with two points.
Free State, which needed all the victories it could get - the Firebirds were declared champs after winning 59.16 percent of games won to games played compared to Olathe Northwest's 58.64 percent - netted help from Patrick Spurgeon, who won a singles match, plus Stephen Donly and Drew Schelar, who won a first-round doubles contest.
"It was the epitome of a team title in that we needed every point we earned and every game," Free State coach Jon Renberger said. "What was dramatic is, it came down to the last doubles match played, the third-place doubles match."
The Free State team of Hull and Moffet, which needed three sets to down an Olathe Northwest team in the second round, fought hard to upend an Olathe East team, 2-6, 7-5, 6-4, in the third-place match.
Had Free State lost that match, the Firebirds would have tied for second overall.
Pipkin won three straight matches, all in straight sets, before falling to J.T. Christian of Olathe Northwest in the singles finals, 6-4, 6-0.
"J.T. Christian will be one of a handful of players in line for the state title," Renberger said of this weekend's meet in Wichita, in which Pipkin, Hull and Moffet will participate. "It was 4-4 at one point in the first set. Getting four games : Keith played very well."
The tournament marked retiring coach Dick Wedel's last meet. The coaches presented him with a plaque recognizing him as "coach of the century."
"As crazy as that bunch is, I don't know why it wasn't coach of the millennium," Wedel quipped. "The players I've coached and coaches I have coached against have made this the best job ever. It has never been dull. It has always been a challenge and it has been a privilege to be able to have done it for so long (27 years)."