by Michael Smith
Now that Kade and Carter Compton have graduated from Grain Valley High School, that opens the door of opportunity for Ethan Miller.
Miller, who was the No. 3 singles player for the Eagles boys tennis team this past spring, could bump up to the No. 1 singles player next season.
He’s working on his game this summer and is participating in multiple offseason tournaments, including the first week of Kansas City Summer Slam Series, the Jaguar Slam, part of a four-week tennis series.
Miller teamed with Lee’s Summit North girls tennis player Lily Temple in the mixed doubles division Thursday and took first place after winning the championship match 8-6 to take first place.
“We had a feeling we were going to do pretty well, we got the first seed,” Miller said. “I kind of got lucky because Lily and I have been playing together for a year at some Metro East Camps. We play doubles drills together but we never played a real match together before today. It was pretty fun.”
“I am preparing to have a good season next year. I am working hard. I am playing in a lot of tournaments and a lot of leagues and practicing seven days a week as long as I can. I am prepared and ready.”
During his championship match, Miller used hard serves during his turn to make it difficult for the opposing team to return the shot, which helped his team win the deciding set.
“For the first two matches, my serve isn’t looking too good today,” Miller said, “during the third match, they kept going in so I kept hitting them hard and it worked.”
“My volleys were working well in the first match. I didn't do too well in the first two matches. Coming to the net was pretty good.”
After getting a bye in the first round, Miller and Temple won in the quarterfinals 8-1 and won in the semifinals 8-6 against Grain Valley’s Kylee Bragaw and Blue Springs South’s Nathan Scherer.
After falling in the semifinals of the mixed doubles bracket, Bragaw and Scherer earned a medal after winning the third-place match 8-6.
“I think we played pretty well for not knowing each other,” Bragaw said of the mixed doubles bracket. “We helped each other and connected pretty well.”
“We have Sunday practices together, but other than that, we don’t know each other very well.”
In the girls doubles bracket, Bragaw teamed with future partner Finley LaForge and took second place. The duo won their first three matches by scores of 8-4, 8-5 and 8-5 before falling to Staley’s pair of Breanna Garstang and Carli Hurt in a close match 8-7 (7-5 tiebreaker).
“We did pretty good and we are pretty close friends,” Bragaw said. “We know how to judge each other and lift each other up. We don’t get mad at each other.”
Grain Valley's Ethan Miller and his partner Lily Temple of Lee's Summit North took first place in the mixed doubles bracket in the Jaguar Slam Tournament Thursday. Photo credit: MIchael Smith
Grain Valley's Kylee Bragaw took third in the mixed doubles bracket with her partner Nathan Scherer of Blue Springs South and she placed second in the girls doubles bracket with Finley LaForge at the Jaguar Slam Thursday. Photo credit: Michael Smith