Barger runs into a hot Najev of Dwenger in regional tennis final
BARGER RETURNS â€” Adams Central's Nathan Barger returns a shot in a recent match. Barger made it to the finals of the Kokomo Regional in singles play before falling to Dwenger's Betrum Najev in a hard-fought match. Barger finished 22-2 this season, and passed his brother as the all-time winningest boys tennis player at AC with his 38th-career win. (Photo by Jim Hopkins)
Adams Central sophomore Nathan Barger won his first Kokomo Regional Singles Tourney match, pounding Zach Saylor of Peru 6-1, 6-1. However, Barger fell to Bishop Dwenger's Betrum Najev, 7-5, 6-2 in the title match.
Barger finished a sterling season at 22-2.
"Nathan played some of his best tennis this Saturday. Nejev was in the zone (for the finals match)," stated Adams Central Coach Michael Hower.
"We had watched Najev play in the first round and really felt like Nathan had a good shot to beat him, and Nathan did play great, but Najev played nearly flawless tennis, making only a handful of errors for the match.
"Nathan worked out our plan nearly to perfection, but Najev had an answer over and over again," said the AC coach.
Hower felt that Barger would have had a better show at the Dwenger standout had he met him in the first round, when Najev wasn't play as well as he did in the finals.
"Although it was disappointing for Nathan to not win and earn a trip to the state finals, I don't know how much better he could have played. Nathan's performance was close to a personal best and as a coach that's all you can ask. The day was an incredible experience for a sophomore to have. This will build his confidence in the future," said the coach.
With the win, Nathan passes his older brother, Brandon, on the AC all-time wins list in tennis. Nathan is now 38-7. Brandon won 37 matches for the Jets.
The girls record at Central is 79 wins, and that mark is held by Nathan's sister, Rachel.
Last week, Nathan Barger was named to the All-District Singles First Team. The district covers the Northeast quadrant of Indiana.
Stidam-McCord BHS Duo Fall At Regional
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The Bellmont No.1 doubles team of Matt Stidam and Garrett McCord gave the unbeaten Northwestern team of Bryan Beachy and Ben-Marvin Egel a real battle in the Kokomo Regional semi-finals, losing the first set in a tie-breaker (7-1) in a 7-6, 6-2 loss Saturday.
Beachy-Egel then fell in the title match to Adam Mandel-John Sides of Zionsville, 6-1, 6-2.
Stidam-McCord had won three straight tourney matches prior to the loss and finished the season at 10-9.
McCord is a sophomore and Stidam a junior.
"Matt and Garrett really improved as the season went along because of the tough competition, and it paid off for them in the postseason," said Bellmont coach Joe Selking.