COLUMBIA—Tennis is not one of Ashwath Kumar's priorities.
Kumar, a junior at Hickman, takes a chemistry class at MU on Monday and Wednesday mornings before his regular school day, which includes five AP classes, begins. He participates on the speech and debate, mock trial and Science Olympiad teams.
Because of all his academic involvement, Kumar has struggled to find time to play tennis for the Kewpies this season. Last Saturday he missed two Hickman matches as well as the Science Olympiad state tournament because of the mock trial state finals in St. Louis.
“Unfortunately there are always going to be conflicts," Kumar said.
Kumar made his season debut on Friday at Cosmopolitan Park in Hickman’s matches against Joplin High School and Christian Brothers College High School. Kumar defeated Joplin’s Duncan Ford 6-2, 7-5 in the morning. He came back in the afternoon with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Jack Yung from CBC. Both matches were at No. 5 singles.
Hickman head coach Andy Materer was glad he could make it.
"He has a lot of experience and he will never beat himself,” Materer said.
Kumar played varsity tennis as a freshman. He didn’t feel any rust and quickly adjusted to the cold and windy weather on Friday.
“In the morning we came here to practice as a team,” Kumar said. “With the ten minute warm-up, I was ready.”
The Kewpies (3-6) beat Joplin 7-2 and lost to CBC 7-2. They play next at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Marshall.