SM East will now share part of state tennis title with Blue Valley North, says KSHSAA

The SM East and Blue Valley North tennis teams posed after the conclusion of the state 6A tournament this weekend. SM East was initially named champion, but KSHSAA announced two days later that an error had occurred in calculating the tie-breaker and Blue Valley North had actually won. Now, the teams will stand as co-champs.

It’s been quite a roller coaster ride of a way to finish out the season for the SM East girls tennis team.

The Lancers left the state 6A tournament in Topeka thinking they’d edged four time defending champs Blue Valley North for the title, narrowly beating them in a calculation used for the third tie-breaker.

Then, two days later, the Kansas State High School Athletics Association announced it had made an error in calculating the tie-breaker percentage, having left out two early round matches. With the figures re-calculated, Blue Valley North had actually won the title, KSHSAA said.

Yesterday, though, the organization said it was revising the final standings yet again, and that SM East and Blue Valley North would stand as co-champions for 2019.

In a letter delivered to athletics directors at the two districts, KSHSAA officials Bill Faflick and Cheryl Gleason said that a review of the precise language in the 2019-20 Tennis Manual could be open to different interpretations about which matches are to be considered in the calculation of the third tie-breaker, which involves determining which team had the highest winning percentage from games team members played.

“One interpretation recognizes the first round as the first match played by each entry, while the other recognized only the matches in the ‘middle column’ of the tennis bracket should constitute the first round,” Faflick and Gleason wrote. “When applying the ‘first match played’ interpretation, Blue Valley North would prevail, and Shawnee Mission East prevails when only considering the first round is the ‘middle column’ of the official bracket.”

Consequently, they said, KSHSAA was awarding the championship to both teams simultaneously.

“As a result of the dual interpretations and ambiguous manual language, Blue Valley North and Shawnee Mission East will both be awarded the 2019 team championship for Class 6A Girls Tennis,” reads the letter. “Our sincere congratulations are extended to the players and coaches from both schools. We regret the initial error occurred and the possibility of differing interpretations of the manual language and will work to provide rule/protocol clarity for future championships.”