The Rhinelander High School boys' tennis team competed in a tough WIAA Division 2 subsectional bracket on Monday in Minocqua and advanced their top flights on to sectionals. Sophomore Jacob Weddle at No. 1 singles and seniors Logan Oestreich and Connor Young at No. 1 doubles will move on to sectionals in Kohler.
Overall the Hodags went 5-5 on the day and finished tied or third place in the nine-team bracket. Rhinelander finished behind Appleton Xavier and Notre Dame Academy in which both teams advanced all seven flights on to sectionals. The top flights only need to win one match to move on while the lower seeds needed to win a pair of matches to advance.
Rhinelander's top flights both received No 3 seeds and defeated Great Northern Conference rivals Pacelli to move on. Weddle had a strong 6-0 start against Charlie Kulick, but the second set proved to be a different story. Kulick rallied back and jumped ahead 5-4 before Weddle rattled off three straight points to win the set and avoided a three-setter. Young and Oestreich would cruise to a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Ben Kroening and Jasper Zhou.
While the Hodags were only one win shy of joining their top flight teammates at sectionals at No. 2 doubles, No. 3 singles, and No. 4 singles. Freshmen Luke Ring and Elijah Evers won their first round 6-3, 6-3 over Wyatt Theis and Rhain Rodenbeck of Shawano. But then Ring and Evers were swept in straight sets by Xavier’s Johnny Horak and Cameron Severson.
Senior Freddy Wisner at No. 3 singles would also earn a first round win for Rhinelander after defeating Alex Ullrich of St. Mary Catholic 6-3, 6-4. But in the final round Wisner fell 6-0, 6-2 to Andrew Minorik of Xavier.
And at No. 4 singles, Ian Conkey had a solid start and beat Joey Sturzl of St. Mary’s 6-1, 6-0. Conkey carried that momentum into the next match against Ian Mettelmann of Xavier and dropped a close first-set 7-5 before fading and falling 6-2 in the second set.
Rhinelaner senior Russell Benoy was the fourth-seed at No. 2 singles and also had a strong start but still fell 7-6 to Gavin Bergstrom of St. Mary’s. And Bergstrom would earned the straight set win with a 6-3 final set win to move on. The Hodags' No. 3 doubles team of senior Bridger Flory and sophomore Billy Berwig were a late scratch after Flory suffered an injury prior to the start.
Rhinelander's three sectional qualifiers, all in the top flights; Weddle, Oestreich, and Young will be in Kohler on Wednesday to compete in the Division 2 sectionals with a trip to the WIAA state tournament on the line.
The Rhinelander High School boys' tennis team closed out their regular season schedule winning their home triangular with a pair of wins over Ashland and D.C. Everest at the RHS tennis courts on Tuesday evening. The Hodags were also without two senior starters Bridger Flory and Freddy Wisner who competed at conference track in Minocqua.
In the first match, Rhinelander would cruise to a 5-2 victory over the Evergreens and closed the night edging Ashland 4-3 even with their altered lineup. Senior Ian Conkey filled in for Wisner at No. 3 singles and would earn wins in both matches. First Conkey rallied back from being down 4-6 in the first set against Simon Bocoun of D.C. Everest and closed the three-setter 7-6, 6-3. Conkey finished strong and blanked Garrett Kabasa of Ashland 6-0, 6-0.
While at No. 3 doubles Zach Thompson and Jack DeNamur split the day with sophomore teammate William Berwig and both picked up straight set wins. First Thompson/Berwig defeated Robby Alston and Collin Neuser of D.C. Everest 6-1, 6-2. And against Ashland’s Logan Huting and Jason Van Horn, Berwig/De Namur picked up a 6-4, 6-4 win.
Freshmen Luke Ring and Elijah Evers went 2-0 on the evening which included a close three-setter against Ashland in their opening match. In a slow start, Evers/Ring fell 2-6 to Kyle Sapper and Rhett Hopper but clawed back to win 6-4 and force the third set. From there Evers/Ring won 10-7 to take the match. In their final match Ring/Evers had a much easier time as they cruised to a 6-0, 6-2 win over Keval Patel and Mortchee Vang of the Evergreens.
At the top doubles flight, seniors Logan Oestreich and Conner Young split straight-set matches on the evening. First they downed Kole Brecke and Brayton Herwig of the Evergreens 6-1, 6-3. And Young/Oestreich fell to Jared Tollas and Augustin Rasmussen of Ashland.
Senior Russell Benoy started strong against Danny Cornish of D.C. Everest at No. 2 singles to earn a 7-6 first-set win. But would then lose momentum down the stretch and Cornish came back to to 6-1 and force a third set and would win the match and close with another 6-1 win. Then in the second match against Ashland, Zach Thompson filled in at the second singles flight but dropped a three-setter to Devin Sunie. Thompson won the first set 6-3 before dropping the final two 6-3, 10-3.
At the top singles flight, Jacob Weddle ran into some tough competition and went 0-2 on the day. First against Lucas Allen of the Evergreen defeated Weddle 6-4, 7-5. And then Ashland's Carson Honkala also picked up a 6-2, 7-5 straight set win over Weddle.
Bryan La would receive a pair of forfeit wins at No. 4 singles for the Hodags, as D.C. Everest and Ashland both did not have entries. RHS finished their regular season 15-8 overall and will now prepare for playoffs. The Hodags will compete in the WIAA subsectionals on Monday at Lakeland High School.
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