Mustangs’ Toland cruises through No. 1 singles play

Register Sports Editor

Register/Jocelyn Sheets
Iola High junior Kent Toland is playing well as the Mustangs’ No. 1 singles competitor this season. On Wednesday, To-land finished off a suspended meet at Pittsburg without dropping a game in his division.

PITTSBURG — Kent Toland, Iola High junior, dominated No. 1 singles play in the Pittsburg High tennis meet. Two weeks ago, Toland won three matches before severe weather suspended the action.
On Wednesday, the teams were back in Pittsburg to finish things up. Toland rolled over Pittsburg’s Jon Hamilton by the same score as he beat the others — 8-0.
“Kent was not really pushed by any of his opponents,” said Lyle Kern, IHS tennis coach.
Toland also defeated Joel Merritt of Labette County, Josh Grant of Fort Scott and Andrew Ballantyne of Columbus.
Playing in the No. 2 singles spot for Iola was junior Chase Vaughn. Vaughn went 2-2, beating Michael Banawetz of Labette County 8-0 and Brayden Peterson of Columbus 8-2. He lost 8-2 to Ben Bristley of Fort Scott and 8-0 to Josh Vannurden of Pittsburg.
“Chase played some excellent tennis. It was the first time for him to play singles,” Kern said.
“I think I will put Chase and Michael (Middleton) back together for the remainder of the year at No. 1 doubles.”
Michael Middleton, a junior, and senior Mack Melvin played No. 1 doubles for Iola at Pittsburg. They lost by 8-1 counts to Warren and Gassett of Labette County, to Grillot and Gorman of Fort Scott and to Casanas and Thomas of Columbus. Pittsburg’s Crowley and Griffin defeated the Iola duo 8-0.
“Michael and Mack never really got in sync,” Kern said.
Melvin will move back to No. 2 singles play. Middleton and Vaughn began the season as Iola’s No. 1 doubles team.
The Mustangs travel to Baldwin Saturday for the Baldwin High Invitational tournament.
Iola will play in the Southeast Kansas League tennis tournament next Thursday at Independence.