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The crown fits! Sherer's long wait pays off with 3A-1A state title



Saturday's Class 3A-1A state championship match was a challenge from start to finish for Rossville senior tennis star Alex Sherer.

Of course, challenge is also the best word to sum up Sherer's high school career as a whole.

But after waiting four years just to get a chance to play in a state tournament, Sherer was more than willing to put in a little extra court time, surviving a marathon three-set, two-tiebreaker championship match to take a 6-7 (10-8 tiebreaker), 6-4, 7-6 (7-4 tiebreaker) victory over Wichita Collegiate junior Nick Grabon at Wichita's Riverside Tennis Club.

"This was the goal, this was the hope and we got it done,'' Sherer said. "It wasn't easy, but we got there.''

Alex ShererbracketRossville senior Alex Sherer displays his championship bracket after claiming the Class 3A-1A state singles championship Saturday in Wichita. [Twitter]

 A veteran of the summer circuit, Sherer was unable to play as a freshman and sophomore because Rossville did not field a tennis team and he had his junior season as a co-op player for Hayden and Rossville wiped out by COVID-19, but finally was able to fulfill his dream of winning a state title -- the first in Rossville history -- with Saturday's come-from-behind win in a match that looked like it could go either way right up until Grabon's final shot went out of bounds.

"It was definitely a little wild,'' Sherer said. "I started out down 5-2 (in the first set) and got it back to the breaker, and had a set point in the breaker, and Nick played some good points. I started up big in the second and then Nick rolled off quite a few games in a row but I was able to snag the second.

"And then the third was just a dogfight. It wasn't about the tennis anymore in the third, that's for sure. It was just about whoever could grind out every point at that point. It was wild and it was tough, but there was so much on the line that it wasn't going to be easy and it wasn't going to be fun all the time, but it had to be done.''

Sherer, who capped a 36-2 season, looked to be on his way to the title when he went up 5-2 in the third set, but just a few games later he was staring defeat in the face.

"Being up 5-2 in the third and then going down 6-5, with your opponent serving for it, you go from, 'I can finish this off,' to 'Oh my God, I might have just choked away my one and only shot,' '' said Sherer, who will play collegiately at Kansas Wesleyan. "But when that (last) ball flew wide whatever I was feeling just came out all at the same time.''

Alex ShereractionRossville senior Alex Sherer capped a 36-2 season with the Class 3A-1A state singles title Saturday in Wichita, a taking a three-set, two-tiebreaker victory in the final. [File photo/TSN]

After playing for James Sandstrom's Hayden team in the regular season, Sherer was coached by his father, Washburn Hall of Famer Jesse Sherer, in postseason for Rossville and said it was nice to be able to share the title moment with his dad.

"He was getting on me the third set, trying to keep me motivated, keep me going,'' Alex said. "We had our exchanges and then I come off the court and he's smiling and fist-bumping.

"We were in Wichita so there were hundreds of people there all cheering for Collegiate, and they're screaming and yelling, and then that last point goes wide and you can hear my dad. He was excited and he was happy. It was cool for sure!'' 


Topeka West sophomore twin brothers Ian and Miles Cusick ended their first Class 5A state tournament with a pair of victories Saturday to wrap up a ninth-place doubles finish at Maize South.

The Cusicks posted a 9-5 win over Newton's Max Musser and Ezekiel Thompson in their opening match Saturday and then followed with a 9-1 win over Maize South's Landon Eskridge and Mitch Krumm.

Ian and Miles, who had swept city, Centennial League and 5A regional titles, finished the season with a 32-8 record.


Washburn Rural junior Kyler Knudtson finished 11th in singles in the Class 6A state meet at Harmon Park, while the Junior Blues doubles team of sophomore Mason Casebeer and junior Nick Luetje took 12th place.

Knudtson, 19-10 on the season, lost a pair of matches to start his day Saturday before taking a victory in the 11th-place match when Frank Reyes of Wichita Northwest retired after dropping the first game of the match.

Casebeer and Luetje (24-14) lost a tight 9-7 decision to Drew Dean and Cuyler Dunne of Lawrence to finish 12th.