Lancers’ Santilli returns to 6A tennis final, but can’t get past Blue Valley West star; SM East takes fifth as a team

SM East's Jack Santilli made it to the state 6A singles title game for the third year in a row.
SM East’s Jack Santilli made it to the state 6A singles title game for the third year in a row.

For the third year in a row, SM East senior Jack Santilli found himself vying for the state 6A singles title. But for the third time this year, he found himself unable to get past the best player in the state.

Santilli dropped Saturday’s 6A title match to Blue Valley West’s Max Kurzban 6-3, 6-3, securing the runner up spot in the tournament for the third time. Santilli, who will play for Cleveland State University next year, finished his senior season with a 27-3 record. All three losses came at the hands of Kurzban, who won the 5A singles title last year before the Jaguars moved into the 6A division for this season. Kurzban finished the year undefeated.

Santilli’s performance combined with a 10th-place singles finish from teammate Billy Louiselle was enough to secure fifth place for the Lancers in the team standings despite the fact that SM East didn’t have a doubles team that qualified for state.

Blue Valley Northwest repeated as 6A team champions, with two doubles teams and a singles player finishing among the top five.

In the 3-2-1A tournament held in Wichita over the weekend, Kansas City Christian’s Jackson VanderArk took fifth place in the singles competition.

SM East’s Billy Louiselle finished 10th in the singles standings.