Bob Cooper was referring to talented tennis players, but at the end of a weather-adjusted Springfield Invitational on Wednesday, he could’ve been talking about himself.
“They’re problem-solvers,” the Glendale tennis coach said. “They get out on the court and figure a way to handle this opponent, and every opponent is different. It’s fun to watch and see the wheels turning and how they make the subtle adjustments.”
Cooper had to problem-solve through wet outdoor courts and an early evening storm to adjust the format of the tournament and find open places to play at Cooper Tennis Complex.
Central’s team of Ryan Bunselmeyer and Devin Cavero pulled off a thrilling run to the finals, cruising through the first few rounds before running into Jenks’ No. 2 team of Jonny Miller and John Tonielli. Bunselmeyer and Cavero had to work overtime, winning 9-8 (6) in a tiebreaker to advance to the finals.
That meant a quick turnaround before facing the No. 1 team from Jenks, Alex Antonides and Grant Bond. But the lack of rest didn’t seem to hurt Cavero or his teammate, Bunselmeyer, who ended up in the netting lining the court several times as he hustled after shots. The Jenks team claimed the title with a 9-8 (2) victory.
“Ryan and I have a lot of fun on the court.,” Cavero said. “Keeping it light helps me. I don’t play well when I’m mad. This (tournament) will help us deal with pressure and changing our strategies to adapt to different situations.”
Bunselmeyer and Cavero started playing doubles together late last season and finished third in the state.
“We attacked the net really well today and didn’t give other teams many chances (today),” Bunselmeyer said. “This tournament will help us, because it’s set up like districts. We really get to see where we stand compared to other teams in the area and what we need to work on.”
Glendale sophomore Micah Klousia carried the torch for Springfield players in singles competition, advancing to the semifinal round and finishing third. Klousia just missed a berth in the championship round, falling to Chase Gordon of Jenks, 8-6.
“I got broken in that first game, and after that we both held. I could not break him back,” Klousia said. “If I could’ve just held that first game. Honestly, I served pretty well today and I thought I played well.”
But he shook off that loss and rallied past Mitchell Worley, of Jenks, 8-4 in the third-place match.
“He got down a break early in that match, but ended up winning,” Cooper said. “I was proud of him for finding a way to work through that and come out on top. Micah played exceptional today.”
Joplin’s Jeremy Lynn defeated Jenks’ Mitchell Worley 8-6 in the other semifinal, then roughed up Gordon 8-3 to win the championship.
Jenks won the team competition, capturing two of the top four finishes in both singles and doubles play to end the day with 44.5 points. Joplin took second, with 29, followed by Glendale (27.5), Central (21) and Branson (14).