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Rebuild Year


The Bolivar boys tennis team continues to make history and mark their place in the record books.

The Liberators traveled to the Cooper Tennis Complex in Springfield on Friday, May 26 and Saturday, May 27 to play in their third straight final four.

Bolivar began the weekend playing Duchesne with a spot in the state championship on the line.

Duchesne came into the match loaded with talent, with two players on their team reaching the state tournament in singles.

“Our first match was against Duchesne, and I knew going into that we would have to start off well in doubles,” said head coach Nathan Rothdiener. “Their number one player is one of the top ranked players in Missouri.”

That number one accounted for each of Duchesnes two wins, winning at the number one doubles and the number one singles spot.

But it was all Liberators from there.

Numbers two and three doubles spots dominated their matchups, giving the Liberators a 2-1 lead heading into singles play.

“I knew we had a decent chance, because our squad has been playing really well lately,” said Rothdiener. “And sure enough sophomore Brody Campbell at the six singles got a nice win 6-0, 6-0.”

Junior Ben Tull followed quickly after, winning 6-0, 6-1 leaving Bolivar with only one more win needed.

Junior Seth Martin delivered.

“Martin came out at the three spot to a slow start, but rebounded quickly in the second set and eventually sealed the victory for us in the tiebreaker,” said Rothdiener. “This put us in the state championship game for the second time in two years, and I was so excited for the guys!”

But this was not the result the Liberators expected.

What was thought to be a rebuild year for the Liberators turned into another great season.

“We went into this season graduating six of our eight varsity members, and I really thought this would be more of a rebuilding year. And that just shows you the work and dedication that these guys put in during the off-season and during the season,” said Rothdiener. “I think our tough schedule really aided in the success of the team this year.”

Coming into the state tournament, Bolivar's only losses were to teams in classes above them, including two close losses to the Class Three fourth place team Central.

The Liberators would now play one of their toughest opponents yet.

Bolivar moved on to play Clayton in the state championship, a rematch of the two years prior.

Bolivar defeated Clayton in the third place matchup in 2021, and the semifinal matchup in 2022. Clayton returned all varsity members from that team.

In a tough round of doubles, the Liberators dropped all 3 matches, including a two point tiebreaker loss at the number two doubles spot.

Heading into singles, the Liberators gave everything they had, but ultimately came up short, earning a State Runner-Up finish in class one.

The Liberators will lose two seniors to graduation, seniors Kyle Pock and Emery Havens.

“I’m really proud of our seniors, Kyle and Emery,” said Rothdiener.“They have been a backbone to this team for the last several years, and we’re gonna greatly miss them.”

Pock finishes his career with five state medals, including a third and second place finish in the class one doubles tournament, as well as two second place finishes and one third place finish in the team state tournament.

The Liberators finished their historic season at 16-6, and earned their third state banner in three years, as well as a second place finish in the Ozark Conference.