by Michael Smith
Carter and Kade Compton make quite the duo.
Not only are the town brothers a force for the Grain Valley boys soccer team, they make a heck of a double team in tennis, too.
Last year, in their first one playing tennis, the Comptons finished eighth in the state doubles tournament last spring to earn all-state honors. Carter and Kade will be the only two returning varsity players from last season’s team as the other four singles spots will be taken by those who played on the junior varsity squad in 2021.
Carter will bump up from the No. 3 singles spot to No. 1, while Kade will go from No. 4 to No. 2.
“My goal is to compete with the big guys,” Carter said, “and in doubles, we want to go to state and get third or fourth.”
Added Kade: “I plan to win a lot of games. I think I can compete at the one spot. But as a No. 2, I think I can win a lot.”
Both said they have been working on their games in the offseason, attending tournaments whenever possible.
“We’ve been doing some lessons ever since winter,” Carter said. “We did some Summer Slam (Tournaments) over the summer. We got fourth in one of those. Then we did another tournament in the last month and got second.”
One of the other four remaining spots will be taken by Ethan Miller, who has really impressed Draper coming into the season. Miller will likely be the team’s No. 3 singles player.
“Ethan has really made a lot of strides,” Draper said. “He should have a lot of success for us and be a really good weapon for us. His serve is really good and he’s good at hitting volleys. He did a lot of work.”
Some players vying for the final three spots include senior Isaac Burd, sophomore Ben Drinkwater, senior Micah Siems, freshman Trace Compton and senior Brycen Crandall.
“I really like our depth,” Draper said. “We have a good mix of young guys and upper classmen. To be good in duals, you have to be good at No. 4, 5, and 6. I think we can put together doubles teams that can do some good things.”
Even with the majority of the players getting their first taste of varsity action this season, the Eagles still aim to win their district. Last season, they lost to Kearney in the finals. This season, Grain Valley has a lot of the same teams in its district as it did in 2021.
“If it’s the same district as last year, I think we have a pretty good shot at winning it as a team and competing to go to state,” Carter said. “We are going to win the conference, too, probably.”
Carter Compton serves the ball during practice Thursday. Photo credit: Michael Smith