KINGSFORD—Last spring, West Iron County’s boys tennis team won its second consecutive U.P. Division 2 championship by a margin of one point over Iron Mountain.
On May 30, the Wykons fell short in their bid for a third straight title—again by one point. Westwood High School took the title with 16 team points to the Wykons’ 15. Iron Mountain took third with 10.
The Wykons finished with two championships: by Austin Waara in first singles (his third U.P. title in three years) and by Alex Ralston at fourth singles.
The team title came down to the final set of the final match of the day: the third singles title match between WIC’s Adam Newby and Westwood’s Tyler Quayle. Quayle won the first set 6-4; Newby fought back and won the second set 6-3.
With the teams tied at 15 points apiece and all the other matches completed, the third set would decide the team title.
That’s when fate stepped in: Newby’s lower right leg started cramping up as the third set began. After falling behind 3-0, he got some liquids into him and bravely battled back—but Quayle stayed in front and won the third set 6-1. That gave Westwood its 16th team point and the championship.
“I knew it was going to be really close with Westwood,” WIC Coach Joe Serbentas said later. “They didn’t do so well last year, but they had some surprise players come out. He did a good job of recruiting players—hats off to him..
“It came down to that last match—I guess it’s fitting that it did.”
Both Waara and Ralston defeated Westwood opponents to win their championships: Waara stopped Andrew LeSage 6-1, 7-5, and Ralston defeated David Bonetti, 6-2, 2-6, 6-2.
That gives Waara three titles in three years. He won the third singles title in 2010 (his freshman year) and the first singles titles in 2011 and ‘12.
West Iron reached the finals in six of the eight flights: Newby (third singles) finished runner-up, and so did Caleb Pellizzer (second singles), Sean Gustafson-Tyler Capadagli (second doubles) and Joey Pisoni-Max Maloney (fourth doubles).
The second doubles title match was another nail-biter, as Gustafson and Capadagli won the first set 6-2 over Iron Mountain’s Henry Hakamaki-Taylor Huotari, then lost the second set 2-6. On they went to the third set—which wasn’t decided until the IM duo won a tiebreaker.
Bowing out in the semifinals were Ryan Rogers-Andrew Peterson at first doubles and Connor O’Donnell-Alec Schmelebeck at third doubles.
The Wykons fielded a young lineup this year—Pellizzer was the only senior starter. “They performed admirably,” said Serbentas. “The singles did an outstanding job today—all of them got to the finals.”
With its young roster, the Wykons had an up-and-down year. “We played against a lot of Division 1 teams. We didn’t do too well in the GNCs, but we took third at Kingsford and third out of eight teams at Negaunee.
“It would have been nice to win three in a row, but it’s all about how you play on that day. We had a couple of things not go our way early on.”
Consider it a building block for next year. “The team played really well this year, considering their age. It was a good season.”