Fremd, Hersey claim sectional championships
Mid-Suburban League boys’ tennis champion Fremd swept the competition aside on Saturday for his own section title and second in a row after overwhelming the field of eight teams including league rivals Conant.
The Vikings will send all four of their teams to the Class 2A state tournament starting Thursday, including Senior Casey Hishinuma (21-4), who has earned the third state appearance of his career.
“I feel like I’ve improved my level over the course of the season and I’m ready to go for a long run next weekend,” said Hishinuma after beating team-mate Andrew Spurck (6-2, 6-3) in the individual final to increase his chances of a 5-8 seeded place by the tournament management.
Hishinuma will play next fall at Case-Western University, majoring in mechanical engineering.
Spurck (22-4), who has had a wonderful rookie season so far, is supported by the doubles teams Ryan Zheng-Arjun Srivasta (17-8) and Jason Sze-Amaye Shyani (9-1), who are currently crowned Movements, 7-5, 6-2.
“This is a great group to train. They support each other and it’s just a pleasure to be around,” said Viking coach Matt Duncan, whose club finished second in the prestigious Tom Pitchford Invite last month.
Conant will use his double teams Rameen Marzban-Roberto Macher (20-8) and Ankur Prasad-Nikhil Vijay (22-9) in the state field.
For Marzban makers it is the second trip to the tournament.
Elgin Sr., Matthew Sengphommachanh, who will play for North Central next season, took third place after beating Lake Park newcomer Oliver Kubicki (16-8), making him the first Maroons player since 2015 as Josh Hagel -Andy Chai moved on after her double section title.
“Adapting to the weather conditions and playing against the older and more experienced as a newbie were my biggest challenges as a newbie,” said Kubicki, who became the first Lancers newcomer since 2016 to rise.
“Oliver really loves to play tennis and with every break you can see his confidence grow as he feels more comfortable out there. He’s a great addition to our team and program,” said Lancers head coach Tim Martin.
In Glenbrook South:
Max Sheldon and his teammates in doubles, his brother Mitch and Kacper Pasielek provided the inspiration for a record day for Hersey, which won its first section title since 1994.
Sheldon, who overcame a marathon semi-final with Maine West star Kamil Kozerski, defeated GBS senior Marc Bleckhman 6: 4, 7: 5 to win the individual crown and almost secure the top spot at the 2A state tournament next week.
The duo Mitch Sheldon-Pasielek showed why they fought for the number 1 in the section after their 7: 5, 6: 3 win over Daniel Deborin-Ben Soyfer from Glenbrook South with 7: 5, 6: 3, for the double title to win.
Pasielek will make his second state appearance, while teammates Luke Bouvier-Josh Ryg are on their way for the first time after finishing fourth.
“Getting all four of our teams into the state tournament and having Max, Mitch and Kacper section wins makes this an incredible day. So you can imagine that today’s post-tournament meeting was a little emotional for all of us,” said an avid huskies trainer Andy Walton.
“We had a great run from what I could find in the mid to late 80s, but today is a great day for all of our team who were available to offer encouragement and support.”
Hersey newcomer Brent Chan (25-7) will join the state field after finishing fourth in the singles.
“This is a really special group of players. It’s exciting to be part of a team that has won a section title and at the same time moving our whole team forward,” said Max Sheldon (27-1), who during his match with Kozerski ( 24-4), who was 5-2 ahead in the first set, only to yell back Sheldon to win the next five games for the set.
“Kamil is a very good player, but it took me a while to figure out the wind in our match and when I did it I let him make the easy mistakes and mistakes,” said Sheldon of his 7-5 , 7-5 defeat by Kozerski, now two-time national qualifiers.
Against Blekhman, who will play at Lehigh University next fall, Sheldon opened with a service break and then easily held the service.
Sheldon would come back from 4-2 deficit in the second set to win his first section crown.
“Max was really locked up. He played two very challenging games today. He’s just a very special young man,” said Walton, who would praise Mitch Sheldon-Pasielek’s (23-6) team.
“Mitch and Kacper are both legitimate individual players themselves and would go into the lineup of almost any school. The fact that we put them together and let them win a section title is amazing.”
It was a Barrington-Stevenson-only final, but it was Stevenson who succeeded when the game came to an end at the Stevenson Sectional at the Vernon Hills Athletic Complex.
The reigning champions of the North Suburban Conference swept their long-standing post-season rivals for the top spot on both flights from Barrington, led by senior Eric Perkowski (13-3), who would defeat Broncos junior Pranav Gadiraju (17-5) in straight sets to be conquered individually.
Ashvath Madhushankar (13-9) defeated Fillie’s college student Devan Carse (11-3) in the game for third place and helped the Patriots outperform Barrington with 26-20.
“I feel like my game is a lot smoother right now and that I’m just playing smart tennis and that I could be the player who could surprise the top seeds next week,” said Perkowski, who was second to the state as a freshman in doubles with his then partner Prathinav Merneedi.
Perkowski, who will play next fall in Dayton, where he studies mechanical engineering, is now a three-time qualifier.
“Pranav played at a high level but (Perkowski) was stable and won many of the bigger points,” said Barrington coach John Roncone, who was watching his # 1 team, and top seeded Ammar Wazer-Ethan Park (20-4 ). ) fall back in the final against the Patriots duo Payton Adkisson-Daniel Tulchinsky (22-4) to secure their second trip to the state in a row.
“Ammar and Ethan played well enough to beat most of the teams but Stevenson’s courage held them up today and we lacked that little bit of what we normally have,” said Roncone.
Stevenson’s Gabe Vistosky-Erwin Perkowski (19-8) and Barrington’s Gabe Mills-Vaarin Shroff (16-9) will both make their first appearances in the state.