SEGUIN, Texas – St. Mary’s fared well, its youngest in particular, in the Third Annual Doc Skogman Invitational, coming away with two championships and several advancements against a crowd of 16 schools, including a Division I challenger.
Holding up the top slot for the Rattlers last weekend was one of their newest, freshman Jared Fellows (Boerne, Texas). Fellows competed in the Men’s A Singles, falling to Midwestern State’s Logan Smith 6-3, 6-1, placing him in the running for the consolation championship. Fellows trumped Temple College 6-1, 6-2 in the semifinals, advancing him to the finals where he faced the only Division I school competing, Prairie View A&M. The freshman brought a scare to Prairie View’s Ronald Chidzikwe in the first set, falling just short 7-5 before falling 6-0 in the second set.
Another freshman, Brien Galon (San Antonio), took it a step further in the Men’s B Singles, claiming the consolation championship. Galon, like Fellows, fell to the Division I Prairie View A&M in the quarterfinals but went undefeated from there on, bypassing East Texas Baptist University and Heartland Conference contender University of Texas-Permian Basin for the consolation crown.
Matt Jones (San Antonio) followed his fellow freshman Galon in snapping the consolation championship for the Men’s F Singles. In a similar situation as his other two Rattlers Fellows and Galon, Jones bowed to a Division I foe. Jones took it into three sets with Prairie View A&M but found himself in the consolation bracket, which he dominated for the championship with victories over Temple College and Our Lady of the Lake University.
The sole Singles championship was claimed by, as the tournament’s history shows, a St. Mary’s freshman. Luke Keller (San Antonio) swept his competition in three straight matches for the Men’s H Singles Championship, beginning with a 6-0, 6-0 trump over Centenary College. The freshman went on to beat Texas Lutheran University and LeTourneau University in the finals.
Over on the doubles court, the A bracket was once again represented by Rattler freshmen, with Matt Banner (Mason, Texas) and Galon teaming up. Banner and Galon stifled conference contender University of Texas-Permian Basin before defeating Midwestern State, advancing them to the finals. It was there the Division I Prairie View struck again, claiming the victory over Banner and Galon.
St. Mary’s doubles championship came from the C bracket with the duo of sophomore Mateo Martinez (San Antonio) and Jones. It was close competition throughout their journey to the championship as Martinez and Jones powered down University of Texas-Permian Basin 8-5 before claiming a 9-8 nail bitter over LeTourneau University. A 9-7 defeat over the University of the Southwest in the finals gave the young duo St. Mary’s only doubles championship for the tournament.
The Rattlers’ only other competing team in doubles was a freshmen combination of Keller and Brian Chowaniec (Buffalo, N.Y.). Keller and Chowaniec advanced to the semifinals after defeating Centenary College 8-3 before missing a close one to LeTourneau University 8-6.
St. Mary’s success in the Third Annual Doc Skogman Invitational provides promise for not only a favorable season but a favorable future for the program as the tournament was powered by underclassmen talent.