COLUMBIA — It’s a good sign of the state of the program when coach Ben Loeb doesn’t remember the last time his Rock Bridge boys tennis team didn’t win districts.
The Bruins clinched the Class 2, District 5 tournament Saturday at Rock Bridge before it was postponed. The semifinals for singles and doubles were all taking place at the same time and the Bruins were represented on every court.
“Mathematically, we’ve won the district tournament,” Loeb said. “It’s just a matter of how many we get in the state tournament.”
Loeb called the semifinals “the money round” because the winners in that round qualify for the individual portion of the state tournament. Rock Bridge has been to six straight final fours in the state tournament and Loeb couldn’t remember the last time the Bruins didn’t win the district tournament.
“It feels good to win (districts) again,” Loeb said. “But it will feel better to get more guys into state.”
Senior Aron Franck was the top seed in the singles draw and made it to the semifinals without much effort in his first two matches. Franck was just about to start his semifinal match when lightning forced the players off the courts, and then rain caused the tournament to be postponed. It will be completed 4 p.m. Monday at Rock Bridge.
“I kind of wanted to play the match,” Franck said. “I didn’t want to go indoors because the court speed is quicker.”
The other three semifinals had been under way for a few minutes.
“It’s not something players like,” Loeb said of pausing matches. “You get in a flow of playing. When you get an interruption, it disrupts that.”
Rock Bridge’s No. 2 doubles team of freshman Aaron Skinner and sophomore Blake Buchert was trailing 4-2 to the Helias team of Michael Leroy and Tony Stevenson when they had to stop play. Loeb said the next game was going to be crucial and the match had the makings of being a classic.
Senior Arthur Jago and the team of senior Jay Kinderknecht and junior Eemaun Latifi were the other Bruins (21-0) in the semifinals.