Valley Center tennis wins town's first men's state title

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Valley Center seniors, Ian Clifton and Garrett Rogers, have been playing tennis together since 7th grade.

“Our 8th grade year, we would spend like 8 hours on the tennis court a day. We would always joke, ‘We want to win something. We want to win something,’” Clifton said.

“It started out as almost kind of a joke. Like, “Oh yeah, we’re gonna take a state title,’” Rogers said.

And after a hard-fought battle, their state title dreams came true, beating Salina Central by 3 points.

The first state win for tennis coach Dean Schulz, who’s been with the team for 36 years.

“It’s one of those things that you put on your list, like a bucket list type thing. But to actually have it come true, was really emotional,” Schulz said.

“You could tell it was really starting to hit him. He’s such a good guy. An amazing person. We each did it for him,” Clifton said.

“The men’s tennis state win is the first state championship for Valley Center in 40 years. The school hasn’t won a state title since the women’s track and field team of 1978.

Being the first young men to bring home a state championship is reason to celebrate. The school board honored them during its weekly meeting.

“I think the thing about this community is they’re resilient. My Facebook page blew up,” Schultz said.

“It’s about time. I know we’ve come close in several sports but it just seems like we’ve been in a drought as of late, for getting W’s in Valley. It’s good to finally bring it home,” Rogers said.

And now coach hopes the team can make it happen again in 2019.

“Well we have to replace Ian and Garrett and Scott. But we’ve got a core of young players. Sophomores and freshman that show a lot of promise,” Schulz said.

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