By Don Eskins (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
The Springfield Catholic Fightin’ Irish are 2019 Class 1 District 10 champions. The Irish claimed this year’s title by downing the previously unbeaten Forsyth Panthers 5-0 during championship round action of the district tournament on Thursday afternoon at the Cooper Tennis Complex.
The victory pushed the Irish’s seasonal mark up to 9-3 while the Panthers slipped to 14-1.
Thursday’s district championship proved to be a big day for the Irish, a day that ended what has been a phenomenal year for the Panthers.
“We did have a really great day on the courts,” said Catholic head coach Justin Fravel. “In singles our No. 1 player Luke Steiner won (6-0 6-2), our No. 4 man Trenton Vahn won (6-0 6-0), our nNo. 5player Sam Crain won (6-0 6-1) and all of our doubles teams played very well also. So I’d say our kids did a good job of taking care of business today.”
“This was a tough loss for our kids and our program,” said Forsyth’s head coach Paul Voliva. “But we lost to a very good team today. They entered our tournament as the top seed for a reason. They’ve been in the final four at state for the past three seasons and will probably make another appearance this year. Today we just have to give credit where credit is due and today was Catholic’s day. We hope to be back next year though for another shot at a district title and trip to state.”
Following last year’s final four appearance the Irish lost four of its top six varsity players to graduation.
When asked if 2019 has been a rebuilding or reloading season for the Irish Fravel responded, “Neither. I look at it as more of a next man up kind of season. We had four open slots, or opportunities, to fill and our kids stepped up the fill them admirably.”
And just how does Fravel feel about where his young squad is today?
“Last year we were experienced, 22-2 and finished among the top four schools in the state,” said the Irish coach. “This year we’re 9-3 but I feel very comfortable about just where we are with this year’s team. They work hard and have shown improvement every week. We just need to keep moving forward.”
Catholic will now move to sectionals where they’ll take on the winner of District 9 on May 18. That could be either Willow Springs (10-6) or Houston (9-2). The two will meet on Thursday, May 9 to determine who will wear this year’s District 9 crown.
1. Luke Steiner/Adam Chanliongco SC def Jarrett Teel/Deroo Forsyth 8-2
2. Morgan McClain/Hunter Skornia def Jordan Letterman/Zachary Reding Forsyth 8-6
3. Trenton Vahn/Sam Crain def Hadyn Edwards/Kollin Kolb Forsyth 8-1
1. Luke Steiner SC defeated Jarrett Teel Forsyth 6-0, 6-2
4. Trenton Vahn SC defeatd Hadyn Edwards Forsyth 6-0, 6-0
5. Sam Crain SC defeated Kollin Kolb Forsyth 6-0, 6-1