Let it be known — there were surprises in the championship of the Kokomo Tennis Sectional Saturday morning at Kokomo High School.

However, by the time Northwestern’s team bus pulled away, the predicted result was a reality. Kokomo had won its 18th consecutive title.

Kokomo improved to 12-8 and heads to Peru Tuesday for the opening round of the regional. The Kats will take on Peru, while Logansport and Marion battle on adjoining courts. The winners return Wednesday to play for the title.

Earlier this season, Kokomo dumped Northwestern 5-0 in pretty convincing fashion. On this day, the Wildkats won two matches with unexpected ease, lost one they figured to win and had to sub-out a senior standout.

The result: a 3-2 victory.

“It’s good to win a sectional anytime.” said Wildkat coach Shawn Flanary. “We’ve had some adversity this season but the kids have kept their heads high and competed. We’ll take a win any way we can get it.”

While the score was close, there wasn’t a lot of drama. Less than one hour into the match, the Kats had the necessary three points in matches won in convincing style. To the Tigers’ credit, they stuck around and won the final two points.

Kokomo’s Brad Caldwell picked up the Kats’ first point at No. 3 singles with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Toby Richards. Flanary said he was especially pleased with Caldwell, who rolled an ankle during his match against Western Thursday afternoon.

A few minutes later, the match was over. Kokomo’s No. 1 doubles duo of Michael Reynolds and Josh Paul dispatched Evan McClure and Ben-Marvin Egel 6-0, 6-0 and the Kats’ Mitch Gauger took the No. 1 singles match over Drew Hansen, 6-2, 6-2.

Gauger, the only senior in Kokomo’s lineup, was pleased — and relieved once the Kats had the decisive third point.

“Obviously you don’t want to be [on the team] when the streak ends,” Gauger said with a smile. “You never get tired of winning sectionals.”

Both coaches were surprised with the No. 1 singles and doubles competition.

“I thought both of those points would be really competitive,” Flanary said. “But our kids kept the pressure on. Our doubles was solid and [Gauger] took care of business.”

Tigers coach Jack Hight said he didn’t necessarily expect different results, but closer sets.

“The 6-0, 6-0 at No. 1 doubles was disappointing,” he said. “And at No. 1 singles, we started pretty well and then went to pot. It wasn’t a good way to end the season.”

Northwestern used a nice effort from its No. 2 doubles team to notch its first point. Bryan Beachy and Riley Metz posted a come-from-behind, 1-6, 7-5, 6-4 win over Michael Hilton and Noah Laymon.

“I never expected our No. 2 doubles to play that well,” Hight said. “They’ve improved all season. Beachy’s forehand has come a long way and Metz can be very good if he’s getting his first serve in — which he was [Saturday].”

The Tigers added their second point at No. 2 singles when Ryan Pattison won the final match of his career over Blake Brown, 6-4, 7-6 (8-6). Brown was subbing for senior Drew Simon, who spent his Saturday taking the SAT.

Hight was pleased with Pattison’s effort and Flanary likewise was happy with Brown, who he said had played only a couple of varsity matches this season.

Northwestern closed its season at 6-8 but with only two seniors on varsity, figures to be improved in 2009.

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