IRON RIVER—After a one-year break, West Iron’s boys tennis team left few doubts May 30, winning the Division 2 U.P. championship at Westwood High School.
Coach Joe Serbentas’ team blasted away the competition to win its sixth D2 team title in the last nine years, earning 21 of 24 possible team points and winning by 10 points. “It shows that not only do we have team depth, but we finished at the end when we needed to.
Iron Mountain was second with 11 points, and Munising finished third with nine.
Wykon starters reached the championship match in all eight flights and won five of them. They were 5-0 over the Mountaineers in the finals, making sure their closest rivals never got very close. “They were on a mission.”
The team title was especially sweet after the Wykons lost to Westwood in the 2012 D2 finals by a single point. Serbentas and the Wykons had stewed about it ever since, and when they got their chance at last week, they were plenty motivated.
“Towards the end,” Serbentas said, “my players have been getting better and better. By the end, I was pretty confident our doubles teams were going to take some championships.”
They did—three of them.
This year, the Patriots weren’t threatening to repeat, so the Wykons focused on the other perennial force in U.P. Division 2 tennis: Iron Mountain, whom they had only met at the start of this spring’s shortened season.
The Wykons faced IM in five finals matches and won them all:
--Third singles: Adam Newby def. Luke Truscott, 6-1, 2-6, 6-1. Newby was the fourth seed in third singles and defeated top seed Micah Heath (Gwinn) 6-1, 6-0 in the semifinals.
--Fourth singles: Alex Ralston def. Al Tomassoni, 6-0, 6-1. Ralston, who also won the 4S title in 2012, lost only one game over two matches to earn his second title.
--First doubles: Andrew Peterson-Sean Gustafson def. Gerry Pirkola-Max Fiorenza, 6-0, 5-7, 7-5. WIC won over Westwood in three sets earlier, had an easy first set, then battled for two back-and-forth sets. “Long points, great volleys, good overheads: It was something.” Peterson and Gustafson trailed 4-5 in the third set but won the last three games to take the title.
--Second doubles: Tylor Capadagli-Joe Pisoni def. Danny Willman-Henry Hakamaki 6-4, 6-1. The win in finals avenged a three-set loss to IM early in the season. “They were very frustrated about that and were on a mission.”
--Third doubles: Aren Newby-Max Maloney def, Nick Cecconi-Jacob Mongrain 7-5, 6-1. WIC won their earlier match, but IM later switched a singles starter to third doubles. The first set was close. “Once they won that first set, their confidence went through the roof.”
West Iron’s other three flights also reached the finals but ended up as runners-up.
--First singles, Munising’s Noah Ackerman def, Austin Waara, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2. Waara had won three U.P. championships before—third singles as a freshman and first singles the last two years—but the Mustangs’ undefeated junior won a hard-fought title match.
--Second singles: Ishpeming’s Guillermo Ansede def. Ryan Rogers 6-1, 7-6 (7-2). Ansede is an exchange student from Spain.
--Fourth doubles: Ishpeming’s Ian McInnis-Trevor Witty def. Connor O’Donnell-Zane Sarafiny 6-3, 6-2. In the semis, they defeated an IM team that beat them badly early this year.
• Earlier, the Wykons finished third at the Great Northern Conference tournament. Kingsford easily won the team title, and Marquette (23) edged the Wykons (21) for second.
The Wykons played several three-set matches with Marquette and Escanaba.
Ryan Rogers had WIC’s best finish, second place in second singles. He defeated Marquette’s Justin Flood 6-4, 6-4 before falling to Kingsford’s Adam Szabo 6-1, 6-2 in the finals.
Thirds went to Adam Newby (3S). Ralston (4S), Capadagli-Pisoni (2S) and Aren Newby-Maloney (3S), Finishing fourth were Waara (1S) and Peterson-Gustafson (1D) Fifth: O’Donnell-Sarafiny (4D).
The Wykons will be losing seniors Waara, Ralston and Gustafson to graduation.