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Students outside in tie-dye t-shirts during Homecoming activity
Argylls Cinderella Run Ends At Semi State

Argylls Cinderella Run Ends At Semi State by Rob Hunt of The Herald Bulletin

Argylls baseball team
Madison-Grant senior Teagan Yeagy leads the team in the school fight song after the Argylls lost to Illiana Christian by a score of 10-0.

Converse - The final chapter of the book that was the historic 2024 Madison-Grant (M-G) baseball season was written Saturday as the Argylls fell to two-time defending Class 2A state champion Illiana Christian in the semi-state semifinal at Oak Hill.

But as with any story, the 10-0, six-inning defeat was only a part of the overall picture and will not erase the previous accomplishments of this Argylls team or its players.

Their names are in the history books,” M-G coach John Walters said. “Some time in the future — it may be in the near future — they’re going to get asked to come back because they are ‘that team.’ They may not understand it now, but they’re young.”

First and foremost, the defeat can do nothing to tarnish the legacy the team’s three seniors — Lucas Humphries, Max Franklin and Teagan Yeagy — are leaving behind after the trio helped their first regional title and semistate berth this season.

Add a 2021 sectional and Nick Muller Madison County tournament championship for Franklin and Yeagy, and it is quite an accomplished group of seniors the Argylls will miss next year.

“I told them this morning, ‘You guys have put your names in history,’” Walters said. “Max and Teagan were part of the ’21 team that won sectional, so they’re two-time sectional champions, and there’s only a couple of those at Madison-Grant.”

While Yeagy will continue his baseball career at Anderson University next season, Saturday was the end of the line for Franklin who will pursue a career as an EMT now that high school has ended.

The two shared a laugh and a smile during the fifth inning when Yeagy came in to relieve Franklin after he threw two solid innings of relief in his own right.

With the Vikings in command at 8-0, the seniors knew their time was almost up.

“They were hitting off me. It was semi state, and we were already down (8-0), I told coach to give me one more (batter) and let Teagan come in as a senior and have his day,” Franklin said. “He came out and did what we did, then we went out to positions for fun. We had fun, and that’s all that matters.”

Franklin took second base after the switch, a position he had not played since middle school.

“Long, long time ago,” he laughed.

Yeagy had added motivation as he took the ball.

Barely a year removed from Tommy John surgery and used sparingly on the mound this season, he needed to escape a bases-loaded, one-out jam in order to ensure he had one more opportunity to bat. If Illiana Christian plated two more runs, the game would have ended because of the run rule.

Although a fielder’s choice grounder plated one run, Yeagy escaped further trouble on a routine fly ball to center, allowing him one last chance at the plate.

“I just wanted to get in there and do my thing like I have,” he said. “I just wanted to get in there and do my job.”

There was not a storybook ending, however, as Yeagy was hit by a pitch with two out and was lifted for a courtesy runner.

It was a tough day at the plate for M-G (17-11). After failing to cash in on a bases loaded, two out opportunity in the first inning, the next 13 Argylls were set down by Illiana starter Spencer Bandstra before junior Xavier Yeagy snapped the string with a seventh-inning leadoff single.

In perhaps something of an illustration as to how the day went for the Argylls, six of those 13 outs — including all three batters in the fifth — hit the ball hard, but usually right at a Vikings’ defender. After Xavier Yeagy’s seventh-inning hit, Luke Gilman — who had M-G’s only other hit — followed with a grounder up the middle that appeared destined for center field, but Viking shortstop Isaac Vander Woude cut off the grounder, stepped on second and threw to first for a double play.

In fact, although Bandstra struck out the side in the first inning, he only fanned one more Argyll the remainder of the game. M-G put the bat on the ball, it just could not find openings in the Illiana defense.

“We were ready for them. We practiced all week on the left hander working on the change up and the curveball,” Walters said. “They had us guessing at the plate early, and then, once we got on it, we hit it right at them. That’s how baseball goes, but they’re a great offense for a reason.”

A tough final outing will do nothing to negate what Xavier Yeagy was able to do on the mound this postseason.

He picked up wins over Eastern and Frankton in the sectional and regional championship games, respectively, and entered Saturday with a 0.50 ERA in those two outings, including a complete game against the Comets.

Walters knows the junior — who was lifted after surrendering seven earned runs in 2 1/3 innings — will be a centerpiece for the Argylls next season.

“The kid is a competitor. He has a lot of grit,” Walters said. “He wants the ball, and I’ll give it to him. We put him in tough situations this season for a reason.”

Starters Xavier Yeagy, Gilman, Tripp Haisley, Harry Brooks, Chad Lamb, and Levi Nelson will all be back, giving the Argylls further reason for optimism.

The future success of the baseball team may be as much of a legacy for the seniors as what they accomplished themselves.

“They might remember us, but I think coach will bring them back to the same spot,” Franklin said. “We’ve got a good team coming up and a couple good freshmen. They’ll do their jobs. If they do their job and play their game, they’ll be just fine.”

Magic Argylls: Argylls Rout Nemesis Comets to Retake Sectional 39 Title

Magic Argylls: Argylls rout nemesis Comets to retake sectional 39 title by Rob Hunt of The Herald Bulletin

Pitcher Xavier Yeagy during a game

Xavier Yeagy pitched all seven innings Monday during Madison-Grant’s sectional win.

GREENTOWN — When Madison-Grant coach John Walters visited pitcher Xavier Yeagy at the mound during the sixth inning of Monday’s sectional championship game, the junior made it very clear he had no intention of coming out of the game.

Or at least, if he was, Walters was going to have to request a new baseball for the reliever. 

“I thought he was coming out to replace me with Teagan (Yeagy), and I said I’d throw the ball over the outfield fence if he took me out,” Yeagy said.

Shortstop Teagan Yeagy, Xavier’s older brother, confirmed his brother would have stayed true to his word.

“That ball was not getting handed over,” he said . Walters left Xavier in, and the junior finished what he started, scattering five hits over seven innings while the offense pounded Eastern pitching for 13 runs on 13 hits as the Argylls knocked off the two-time defending sectional champions 13-1 and claimed their first sectional championship since 2021.

The Sectional 39 championship also came in the first season for Walters at the helm and led to a number of emotional scenes on the field as he took time to thank his supporters.

“It’s a great day to be an Argyll,” he said. “I had a really good meeting with the boys this morning, and I told them there is one word that has to have an ‘m’ and a ‘g’ in it, and that’s ‘magic.’”

In two sectional games this weekend, Madison-Grant (16-10) outscored Elwood and Eastern (22-9-1) by a combined 21-2 score, and its hitters struck out just five times total while the defense committed just three errors — two of those coming in one inning in Saturday’s win over Elwood.

Monday, the Argylls turned a double play, cut down a runner going for an extra base and made the routine plays in routine fashion.

“Our defense has been great,” Walters said.

An inability to make the routine play cost Eastern dearly and may have opened the floodgates for the Argylls’ offense.

With one out in the M-G second inning, Max Franklin doubled and scored on a single by Levi Nelson.

That prompted the Comets to lift starting pitcher Perry Kochensparger in favor of Colt Snyder, who promptly walked Xavier Yeagy to load the bases. Lucas Humphries — who earlier walked — then scored from third on a Luke Gilman grounder for a 2-0 lead. But it was the second out and — after intentionally walking Teagan Yeagy — the Comets appeared to have escaped further trouble when Tripp Haisley lifted a lazy fly ball to right field.

But right fielder Collin Otto could not negotiate the wind and dropped the fly ball, allowing all three runs to score, and it was suddenly a 5-0 Argylls’ lead.

And it was a lead they continued to build upon. In the third, Franklin singled with one out and scored all the way from first on a Humphries double for a 6-0 lead, and Harry Brooks singled home Teagan Yeagy in the fourth for a 7-0 advantage.

All the while, Xavier Yeagy was keeping the Comets hitters at bay. He retired the first seven batters he faced and did not allow a hit until Eastern scored its only run in the fourth. With one out, Butler-commit Corbyn Snyder doubled to deep right-center to score Owen Seagrave, but thanks to a perfect relay throw from Haisley at second base, Snyder was out going for third base.

The offensive additions grew to a crescendo in the fifth, when the Argylls put three more on the board after the first two batters were retired.

Xavier Yeagy and Gilman started the inning with walks, and both scored on a triple to deep right by Teagan Yeagy. Haisley then brought Teagan home with a single to right.

Three more scored in M-G’s final at-bat after, again, the first two batters were out. Gilman and Teagan Yeagy drew walks, and Haisley doubled them home before Brooks capped the victory with a single to right to score Haisley.

Gilman was the only Argyll starter without a hit, but he walked three times and scored twice. It was the kind of offensive showing that makes life relatively stress-free for a pitcher.

“There is no relaxing in baseball. It’s a weird sport,” Xavier Yeagy said. “It did give me that confidence to go out there and do my stuff on the mound and they would back me up.”

It was also an especially sweet victory for seniors Franklin and Teagan Yeagy, two players who can remember the 2021 title. Saturday, the two combined to go 4-for-7 with two RBI and six runs scored.

“We came out wanting to win, and hitting (batting practice) before this we were hitting really well,” Franklin said. “We knew in the second inning that we were fired up. We were going. There was nothing they could really do about it.”

“We’ve faced them three out of the four years (in the championship game) that I’ve been here, and now I’m 2-1 against them,” Teagan Yeagy said.

The Argylls will await their regional destination where they will play either Frankton or Wapahani, who played later Monday in the Sectional 40 championship.

M-G Runs Past Elwood for Fourth-Straight Sectional Title

M-G runs past Elwood for fourth-straight sectional title by Zach Carter of The Herald Bulletin.

Madison-Grant’s Kenna Craig embraces Shelby Dixon after Dixon made a catch for the final out

Madison-Grant’s Kenna Craig embraces Shelby Dixon after Dixon made a catch for the final out as the Argylls defeated the Elwood Panthers to win softball sectional #39 at Madison-Grant on Thursday.

Richard Sitler | The Herald Bulletin

FAIRMOUNT – A Cinderella run vs. a three-time champion. That was the scene in Thursday’s Sectional 39 championship game at Madison-Grant Junior/Senior High School.

After five innings, it was Madison-Grant who surrounded home plate and pulled sectional champion shirts from a box after defeating Elwood 12-0 for the Argylls’ fourth-straight sectional title.

“It’s the kids,” Madison-Grant coach Travis Havens said. “We’ve had a lot of good players, and we still have a lot of good players.…This stuff doesn’t just happen. (My assistant coaches) have a passion for (the game) and Madison-Grant.” 

Madison-Grant struck first, grabbing two runs — on an Elwood error and an RBI groundout — in the bottom of the first.

After the initial scores, both defenses settled in for the next few innings. Even though hits were not an issue for either team, moving the baserunners became difficult. However, the Argylls found the spark they needed.

Madison-Grant’s Patricia VanMatre hits the ball during the fourth inning against Elwood

Madison-Grant’s Patricia VanMatre hits the ball during the fourth inning against Elwood.

Richard Sitler | The Herald Bulletin

In the bottom of the third, the Argylls loaded the bases. After Madison-Grant sophomore Patricia VanMatre drew a run-scoring walk, the floodgate was opened as the Argylls scored five runs in the inning to take a 7-0 lead.

“If you don’t play that way, you’re not going to win in a tournament,” Havens said. “If you get to this point, all of the teams (you play) are going to be good.”

In the following inning, Madison-Grant added four more runs to its total after Elwood (10-18) committed multiple errors and the Argylls (20-9) continued to hit the ball. The Argylls finished the victory with eight hits while the Panthers had six.

“We’re just a strong team,” Argylls freshman starting pitcher Olivia Dunham said. “We know what we have to do to win.”

In the circle, Dunham pitched 3 2/3 innings, allowing five hits and recording two strikeouts. Junior McKenna Craig finished the game, only giving up one hit.

At the plate, Madison-Grant senior Maddy Moore and junior Demie Havens each had two hits. Moore has been a part of every sectional title and was excited to do it again in her final season.

“We started rough (in the beginning of the season),” Moore said. “The improvement we showed makes this team special.”

The Argylls will move on to and face Lapel — which defeated Alexandria 4-2 — in the regional championship on the road Tuesday at 6 p.m. Earlier in the season, the Bulldogs defeated Madison-Grant 9-3 on May 1.

“(Lapel) earned that (sectional title),” Havens said. “They put it on us, so we’ll have to play well to win.”

Argylls’ Aida Sites Fastest at Kokomo
“Aida

Aida Sites wins the girls 100-meter dash during the Madison County Track and Field Championship in April. Tuesday, Sites also won the 100 at the Kokomo sectional.

Don Knight | For The Herald Bulletin

MARION — Long considered a star on the rise at Madison-Grant, junior Aida Sites elevated her success during her first two years little by little.

Those results have risen by an order of magnitude in her third season as an Argyll.

The Madison County champion will return to the track-and-field regional after adding the 100-meter dash sectional title at Kokomo to her resume Tuesday.

After qualifying second in the preliminary heats, Sites used the weather conditions to her advantage and finished the 100 in 12.73 seconds, edging Makenna Brooks by 0.14 of a second for her first sectional championship.

“I’m pretty surprised. I was hoping for a top-three finish, but the rain helped,” Sites said. “The other girls were letting it change their routine and hiding under tents. There was just me and one other girl doing our regular warm-ups.”

She placed tenth as a freshman and ninth a year ago. This season, she won the county title in the 100 in similar conditions but improved her time by over .6 of a second.

“It’s one of my better times,” she said. “I’m happy with it, especially in the rain.”

The Kokomo sectional was completed while many others were postponed until Wednesday.

Sites also advanced to regional after running the anchor leg of the 400 relay team that ran 52.69 seconds for a third-place finish. This is the same foursome that moved on last season, consisting of Sites, Laci Southerland, Ariahlynn Stanger and Abigail Brown.

“We were pretty locked in for the race,” Sites said. “We were hoping to get back to regional and break the (school) record there again.”

Southerland was also among the Argylls who placed in scoring position but did not advance. She was fifth in the 200 while Brooklynn Hodupp (87-foot-7) and Rebecca Brown (77-7) were sixth and eighth, respectively, in the discus throw. Hodupp was also eighth in the shot put while Sites closed out her night — along with Brown, Southerland and Ayla Caldwell — with a sixth-place finish in the 1,600 relay.

“Laci

Madison-Grant’s Laci’ Southerland competes in the 400-meter relay last year at the Goshen regional. Tuesday, Southerland, Aida Sites, Abigail Brown, and Ariahlynn Stanger repeated as regional qualifiers in the event with a third place finish at the Kokomo sectional.

Austin Hough | CNHI Sports Indiana

Madison-Grant placed eighth as a team with 28 points with Western claiming the overall title at 101 points.

The advancing Argylls will return to Kokomo for the regional May 21, and Sites will spend the next week trying to be just a little faster.

“I think one thing that’s helped me (improve) is my block starts,” Sites said. “I’ve improved those, but it’s something I can still get better at.”

Three Madison County schools — Alexandria, Elwood and Frankton — were also in action at Marion, and while none advanced to the Fort Wayne Carroll regional, there were strong performances.

Elwood’s Savannah Garcia, after qualifying ninth in the prelims, roared back to a fourth-place finish in the 100 hurdles, narrowly missing out on qualifying. Alexandria’s Emmalynn Gullion was eighth in the event.

Alexandria freshman Riley Thomas had a strong first sectional, grabbing a sixthplace finish in the 100, fifth in the long jump and was sixth in the 200.

Frankton’s Joslyn Karnes-Hatfield was ninth in the 100 before helping the 400 relay team — including Lowyn Coffey, Amaya Collins and Ann Curtis — to a seventh-place run. Evelyn Croy was sixth in the 400, Chelsea Newton was fourth in the 1,600 and Coffey added an eighth-place finish in the long jump. Collins was also eighth in the 200.

Karnes-Hatfield, Coffey, Newton, and Croy closed out the event with a seventh-place finish in the 1,600 relay.

Seashells and Seashores Inspire Art for MG Lilly Fellowship Recipient

Allison Saathoff loves seashells, which provided the jumping off point for her application to the 2024 Teacher Creativity Fellowship Program through the Lilly Endowment. A 27-year veteran of art education, Saathoff is a long time Fairmount resident who has been a part of the Madison-Grant Art program for just two years and is now a recipient of the Teacher Creativity Fellowship awarded by the Lilly Endowment. Please view our news release for complete details.

Allison Saathoff, creative teacher at Madison-Grant Students at a table enjoying an art project
Rainey's Drive in Closing Seconds Lifts Argylls Past Jets

Rainey's Drive in Closing Seconds Lifts Argylls Past Jets by Rob Hunt at The Herald Bulletin

Basketball players taking shot while being guarded

With five seconds left in the game Madison-Grant's Jasmyn Rainey drives the lane to put up a final shot over Anderson Prep's Kaylynn Orr at Madison-Grant on Thursday. Rainey hit the shot to give the Argylls a 49-48 win.

Richard Sitler | The Herald Bulletin

Fairmount - It was not as if Madison-Grant (M-G) did not have multiple opportunities to win the game. In fact, with five seconds remaining, the Argylls were about to inbound the ball with their seventh possession since Clara Fulton put Anderson Prep ahead 48-47 in the fourth quarter.

The previous six tries included five missed three-point shots and a pair of turnovers, so coach Jace Martin looked for a different approach for his team's final try.

"We really didn't have anything drawn up except for Maddy (Moore) to go to the basket," he said. "If she's not open, somebody else go to the basket."

The goal of getting the ball into Moore's hands made sense. She led the Argylls with 21 points. But junior Jasmyn Rainey received the inbounds pass and, with Moore and the rest of the M-G three-point shooters covered, made a split-second decision.

"When we were in the huddle, we were trying to draw up a play for Maddy, and she had been on fire the whole game," she said. "They knew we were looking for our shooters, so they were playing the over heavy and left the lane open. I saw the opportunity and took it."

The move worked.

Rainey's drive into the lane resulted in the game-winning basket and the third straight M-G victory, 49-48 over the Jets.

Basketball player shooting for 3 points

Katie Stowers attempts a three for Madison-Grant during the second half against Anderson Prep on Thurday.

Richard Sitler | The Herald Bulletin

"I decided in the huddle already in my head there was a possibility that I might have to take it myself," Rainey said. "I already made up my mind that I could do it."

It was just her second basket of the game, and she finished with four points and led M-G defensively with six steals.

The loss spoiled a strong performance from Jets junior Alivia Peoples. The six-foot-one junior led the Jets with 18 points and six steals while leading all players with 23 rebounds, including 14 on the offensive end.

The loss also served as a learning opportunity for APA (6-4) after it failed to extend the one-point lead in the closing moments in six tries.

"The biggest thing - I don't think we could have played a worse game," Jets coach Joshua Fathauer said. "The way things were going so badly to be up five points at halftime and up one with five seconds left, that shows that we don't quit. That's one thing I'm taking away from this.

"But it's heartbreaking to lose like that."

Basketball player takes fast break

Anderson Prep’s Arianna Flowers leads a fast break during the first half against host Madison-Grant on Thursday.

Richard Sitler | The Herald Bulletin

The game was close throughout. The biggest lead for M-G (5-6) came at 44-35 after Maddy Holloway sank a three-point basket to open the fourth quarter. After outscoring M-G 18-8 in the second period, APA had its biggest lead of five points at 29-24 at halftime after a Fulton three-pointer.

The Jets began cutting into that nine-point lead and utilized their size advantage to do so.

Peoples hit an elbow jumper, Kaylynn Orr scored on a rebound basket, Peoples scored again in the lane and - with the Argyll defense looking inside - Tameah Eldridge drilled a three-point shot from the top of the key, and the game was tied at 44-44.

Moore answered with a three-ball of her own before Julia Smith and Fulton scored on baseline jumpers to give the Jets the lead, setting up Rainey - eventually - with the game winner.

Basketball player lines up a three

Madison-Grant's Maddy Moore lines up a three in the third quarter against visiting Anderson Prep on Thursday. Moore scored 21 points in the Argylls 49-48 win.

Richard Sitler | The Herald Bulletin

"That might be my most exciting moment now, so far," Rainey said. "I'm hoping to make a new one in the Mississinewa game this weekend."

The Jets outrebounded the Argylls 54-30 but offset that with 32 turnovers compared to 24 by M-G.

In addition to her 21 points, Moore had nine rebounds, six assists and five steals while Katie Stowers scored 17 points on five-of-10 three-point shooting.

Peoples did not record the only double-double for APA as Julia Smith finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

The Argylls travel to Mississinewa on Saturday afternoon for a Central Indiana conference matchup while the Jets will head to the Jungle on Tuesday for a date with the Alexandria Tigers before hosting Indiana Math & Science on Wednesday.

The Jets stormed back and defeated the Argylls 20-19 in the junior varsity game with La'Deja Chambers scoring the game winner. Fulton led APA with six points while Marlie Nieman scored eight points for Madison-Grant to lead all players.

Argylls Claim First County Tennis Title

Argylls Claim First County Tennis Title by Rob Hunt at The Herald Bulletin

Boys team celebrating

Madison-Grant celebrates its first Madison County boys tennis championship after a 4-1 win over Pendleton Heights Friday night.

Rob Hunt | For The Herald Bulletin

FAIRMOUNT — It was fitting Madison-Grant’s three singles players, so instrumental in the Argylls’ 2022 sectional championship, were the first three off the courts with wins Friday night in the Madison County title matches against Pendleton Heights.

The trio of Luke Gilman, Christopher Fox, and Clayton Hull were able to withstand some early pressure, dominated their matchups, and made more M-G history with a 4-1 victory — the first Madison County title in program history.

For long-time Argylls coach Tony Pitt, there were plenty of smiles after the matches were concluded but not much surprise. After what his team accomplished a year ago, he expected it to take care of business this week and claim a trophy that had been in the possession of Lapel for nine straight years.

“It’s only been 18 years, but who’s counting?” Pitt said. “I was pretty calm going into it. This wasn’t their first rodeo as far as big matches. Last year with conference and sectional, I had complete faith in them.”

Gilman put the first point of the evening on the board with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Austin Perny, and Fox followed shortly thereafter with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Cove Ritchey.

Gilman has been dominant this week, dropping just 11 games in sweeping his Elwood, Frankton, and PH opponents during the tournament. His coach said the junior has been on a mission this season.

“I believe that’s 14 games he’s given up in eight matches this year,” Pitt said. “He’s coming out for business from the beginning.”

Meanwhile, Hull — after trailing 3-2 in the first set against Owen Kean — roared back to win 12 of the next 13 games for a 6-3, 6-1 victory, closing out the PH sophomore on his third match point.

Clayton Hull hitting a tennis ball

Madison-Grant’s Luke Gilman volleys the ball to his opponent at the Madison County Boys’ Tennis Tournament Championship on Friday at Madison-Grant.

David Humphrey | For The Herald Bulletin

Gilman and Fox were watching Hull and knew they had notched another milestone for their team and their coach.

“We’ve been close, but we came up short,” Fox said. “It feels great for that to not happen and finally pull this win across.”

Pitt was happy to see the school’s first county tennis title clinched by the three singles players — Fox and Hull are seniors, Gilman a junior — who have led the recent resurgence of Argylls tennis.

“They lift each other up on courts next to each other, too,” Pitt said. “They’ve been doing this for a few years now, so it was a great way for them to finish as the first three.”

Gilman pointed to last year’s Central Indiana Conference and first sectional championship as valuable experience heading into Friday’s final. Winning those high-pressure matches helped prepare the Argylls for the early push from the Arabians, who took early leads in several matches.

Pitt advised his players to weather the early storm.

“We were embracing the energy,” Gilman said. “They brought the energy, and we just kind of took it from them, and they didn’t have an answer.”

The M-G No. 2 doubles tandem of Jacob Moore and Brogan Brunt defeated Jaxton Bush and Isaac Haugh 6-4, 7-5 shortly after Hull’s match wrapped up for a 4-0 Argylls lead.

The Arabians salvaged one point as Ivan Chen and Garrett Morgan stormed back to defeat Ben Pax and Ty Evans in three sets, 3-6, 7-5, 10-8. The Arabians also trailed in the second set before forcing the third set, which was played as a 10-point tiebreaker as the outcome of the overall match had been decided.

The Argylls won their first championship in their third title match appearance — they fell to the Bulldogs in 2019 and 2020 — while the Arabians were runners-up for the third straight year and for the seventh time overall.

“There are more obstacles and great teams down the road, but there’s not another team I’d want than this group right here,” Pitt said.

Argylls Oust Eagles for County Final Berth

Argylls Oust Eagles for County Final Berth by Rob Hunt of The Herald Bulletin

BOYS Tennis score board-Madison Grant: 4, Frankton:1

ELWOOD — As the last point fell in his favor, Clayton Hull had made Madison-Grant boys tennis history with his 6-3, 6-2 win over Frankton’s Aaron Hartley in the No. 3 singles match. With the win, he became the program’s all-time leader in wins with 61, snapping a tie he held with 2012 graduate Conner Hunt.

“Ever since my freshman year when I had 16 wins, everyone said if I keep winning, I’m on pace to break the record,” Hull said. “I’ve been chasing that, and to finally actually have it, it feels great.”

Now he has his sights set on making some team history as well.

His victory completed a 4-1 Argylls win over the Eagles in the Madison County boys tennis tournament semifinals, and Madison-Grant will seek its first-ever championship Friday evening when they host Pendleton Heights.

“We’re just going to come out and give it our all,” Hull said. “It’ll be nice to add to the collection.”

Clayton Hull hitting a tennis ball

Clayton Hull won his program-record 61st match Thursday as Madison-Grant advanced in the Madison County tournament.

Bob Hickey | For The Herald Bulletin

The Arabians ended Lapel’s nine-year reign as county champions with a 4-1 win Thursday and will be playing in the finals for the third straight year and chasing their first championship since 2013.

Hull’s match was the last to be completed, giving his teammates an opportunity to celebrate his individual accomplishment on the court.

“I’ve been playing with most of these guys for three or four years, and I’ve known them since we were really young,” Hull said. “To have them there to celebrate was really great.”

“It’s been great to see (Hull) progress from (middle school) to now,” M-G coach Tony Pitt said. “We’ve had a nice program for the last number of years, and it really started with Conner, who probably could have been our No. 1 when he was in sixth grade.

Frankton’s Sam Barr competes in the No. 1 singles match

Frankton’s Sam Barr competes in the No. 1 singles match Thursday against Madison-Grant’s Luke Gilman.

Bob Hickey | For The Herald Bulletin

His win completed a singles sweep by the Argylls as Luke Gilman defeated Sam Barr at No. 1 singles 6-2, 6-3, and Christopher Fox knocked off Max Barr 6-2, 6-2 in the No. 2 singles matches.

Both matches were closer than the scores indicated.

“They’re no strangers to us, we played them 3 times last year and at different tournaments this summer,” Pitt said. “We knew we’d get their best, and they have everyone back from last year as well. I’m very pleased at the way we played today.”

The first point of the night went to the Argylls as Dalton Gibson and Brogan Brunt breezed to a 6-0, 6-2 win over Eli Birch and Braxton Mort at No. 2 doubles for an early 1-0 lead.

Frankton’s lone point came at No. 1 doubles as Jackson Alexander and Jon Hobbs prevailed through the heat and a tight three-set match with a 6-3, 6-7 (6-8), 10-5 win over Ben Pax and Ty Evans.

The Arabians will visit Madison-Grant (7-0) — the first home match of the season for the Argylls — on Friday at 5:00 p.m.

Argylls Claim First Tennis Sectional Championship

Madison-Grant’s boys tennis team celebrates the first sectional title in program history after sweeping Marion 5 to 0.

Argylls Claim First Tennis Sectional Championship by Rob Hunt of The Herald Bulletin

For months, Christopher Fox and his Madison-Grant (M-G) teammates have put in extra hours on the tennis courts, often well past dark and often forcing coach Tony Pitt to send them home.

“This is a goal they've set from day one. This is our year for sectional,” Pitt said. “Yesterday, when we got back from the Mississinewa match, I had to turn the lights on for them, and they just love each other. This group has been together forever. … They just love the competition and to push each other.”

On Thursday, September 29 that extra effort bore fruit as Fox reversed a regular-season loss, and the Argylls swept past Marion 5-0 to claim the school’s first tennis sectional championship.

The Argylls won the title in near-perfect fashion, sweeping defending champion Mississinewa 5-0 a day before rolling past a Giants program that has amassed 32 sectional championships in its program’s storied history. Mississinewa and Marion have combined to win the last 14 titles in this sectional.

“I just love the fight these kids have,” Pitt said. “This is the first time going into a sectional final that I wasn’t nervous. It’s just a testament of the kids and how they handled things yesterday, and I knew they would do the same today.”

The tone was set early by Fox when he jumped ahead 3-0 in his number two singles match against Elijah Maki. The Giants’ player won the next two games, but otherwise, Fox was in control throughout in a 6-3, 6-2 win.

The M-G players fed off each other’s energy as they saw Fox’s fast start as well as a quick one-set lead in both doubles matches.

Soren Price and Davin Barton are M-G’s only seniors, and they comprise their number two doubles team. They put the first point on the board with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Dylan Schuh and Gabe Clark while Ben Pax and Brogan Brunt were nearly as efficient at number one doubles in taking a 6-2, 6-2 win over Todd Pederson and Daniel Terhune.

From there, the rout was on.

“It’s a true team atmosphere with these kids, and it’s great to see,” Pitt said.

Madison-Grant’s Luke Gilman hits a volley during his Number 1 singles match in Thursday’s sectional championship at Marion. Gilman won his match in 3 sets.

While Fox and number one singles player Luke Gilman were still playing, it was Clayton Hull at number three singles who scored the clinching point after posting a convincing 6-0, 6-1 win over Ryan Spitzer.

“We made sure to bring the energy and lift each other up the whole time,” Hull said. “Doubles yelling, singles yelling, back and forth, we made sure to keep each other up.”

After Fox closed out Maki for the 4-0 lead, the team gathered near court one where Gilman was in a battle with Ryan Sebastian. The Giants number one player had controlled the first set 6-2, but Gilman bounced back 6-4 in the second to even the match and force a third.

Knowing the team result was already decided took the pressure off Gilman to finish the sweep.

“Winning that second set just gave me a big boost of energy and seeing everyone win made me happy for them,” he said. “I knew that my match meant a lot even though we already won sectional. … There was a lot on the line, but the pressure was off because I knew I was moving on.”

Holding the trophy after the matches made the extra work, the late nights and inconveniencing their coach well worth it.

“It was the next step, like coach said” Fox said. “It means a lot for everyone to come out here and give it their all. We went 3-2 with Marion earlier this year and sweeping them tonight feels so good.”

The regional semifinal opponent for the Argylls will be the winner of Friday’s Anderson sectional championship between Lapel and Frankton.

The Argylls make no bones about who they would like to see in that first matchu- the team that knocked them off in the Madison County semifinals.

“We know Frankton is a nice team. We’ve played twice and had some good battles,” Pitt said. “If it is Frankton, hopefully, we’ll be ready for that challenge. We have four losses this year, and it would be nice to have another crack at Lapel.”

The regional will also be played on Marion’s courts with the winners from Delta and Jay County comprising the second semifinal. Both semifinal matches will be played on Tuesday, October 4 with the championship match slated for Wednesday, October 5.

Madison-Grant’s 2022 Marion sectional championship tennis team.