Minus Edinburgh, which is headed south to play at Columbus North, this week’s boys tennis sectional at Center Grove essentially will be a second Johnson County tournament — but will the results be the same?
Franklin won the county title earlier this month, edging Greenwood in the semifinals and taking down longtime nemesis Center Grove in the championship. That win ended the Trojans’ run of 26 consecutive county titles.
It was Greenwood, not Franklin, however, that just won the Mid-State Conference tournament. And while Center Grove has tradition and home-court advantage in its favor, it’s Whiteland that comes in as the defending sectional champion.
In other words, the title is anyone’s for the taking.
Here’s a team-by-team glance at the field heading into today’s opening round:
The traditional power
Center Grove Trojans
This season: 4-12 overall, third in Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference tournament, lost to Franklin 4-1 in Johnson County championship match; ranked 29th in state
No. 1 singles: Trey Thixton
No. 2 singles: Nic Ballesteros
No. 3 singles: Mitch Runkle
No. 1 doubles: Eli Lawyer-Smith/Akul Vijayvargiya
No. 2 doubles: Grant Herron/Mason Runkle
Notable: By getting a first-round bye, Center Grove has already advanced deeper than it did last year, when it was beaten by Greenwood in its opening match.
The (slight) favorite
Franklin Grizzly Cubs
This season: 12-2 overall, 6-0 Mid-State Conference; won Johnson County championship, 2nd in Mid-State Conference tournament; ranked 3rd in District 5 and 25th in the state.
No. 1 singles: Noah Roberts (16-1)
No. 2 singles: Jonah Rockey
No. 3 singles: Andy Bennett
No. 1 doubles: Jake Rockey/Logan Snyder
No. 2 doubles: Josiah Rockey/Ethan Klem (15-2)
Notable: The county championship the Grizzly Cubs won this year is their first in 39 years.
The dark horse
This season: 8-5 overall, 5-1 Mid-State Conference; won Mid-State Conference tournament, lost to Franklin 3-2 in Johnson County semifinals; ranked eighth in district
No. 1 singles: Jacob Gray
No. 2 singles: Jack O’Reilly
No. 3 singles: Grant Bryant
No. 1 doubles: Jacob Rothaar/Alex Walsh
No. 2 doubles: Eric Moenkhaus/Ben Sobieray
Notable: Greenwood’s win over Center Grove in last year’s sectional was its first since it was added to this grouping 12 years ago.
Indian Creek Braves
This season: 8-9 overall, 2-2 Western Indiana Conference (4th place); lost to Center Grove 5-0 in Johnson County semifinals
No. 1 singles: Trace Zachery
No. 2 singles: Cole Harris
No. 3 singles: Dalton Campbell (12-5)
No. 1 doubles: Scott Russell/Bryce Waddell (12-5)
No. 2 doubles: Cody Hart/Jeremy Lee
Notable: The Braves will be looking to reach the sectional final for the first time since 2011.
The defending champ
This season: 6-9 overall; lost to Greenwood in opening round of Johnson County tournament
No. 1 singles: Caleb Scott (9-7)
No. 2 singles: Garrison Pelfree (12-5)
No. 3 singles: Mason Laugle
No. 1 doubles: Corey Ullrich/Adam Zietlow
No. 2 doubles: Nolan Lee/Austin Taylor
Notable: The Warriors’ sectional triumph last year marked the first time since the current five-team alignment was set in 2004 that someone other than Center Grove won the title.
Center Grove Sectional
Greenwood vs. Whiteland, 4:30 p.m.
Indian Creek vs. Franklin, 4:30 p.m.
Center Grove vs. Greenwood-Whiteland winner, 4:30 p.m.
Championship match, 4:30 p.m.