The Rhinelander High School boys 'team appears to be on the right track to earn their fourth consecutive Great Northern Conference title after sweeping Pacelli in a doubleheader Wednesday and following it with a 7-0 win over Antigo at home on Thursday. RHS will enter Friday's GNC meet with a minimum of a 30-point lead and will have a cushion ahead of the conference, which may likely result in clenching the title before they even begin. Pacelli
The GNC doubleheader on Wednesday was moved indoors to SentryWorld in Stevens Point due to the rain. Rhinelander would cruise to a 6-1, 6-1 sweep.
The Hodags returned senior Markus Johnson to the top of the singles lineup after a sore shoulder he bumped down to No. 2 doubles. Johnson had no troubles and would down Nick Hasler 6-0, 6-1 in the first dual and then 6-2, 6-1 in the second match.
At No. 3 singles, Jacob Weddle blanked Jarrett Shields 6-0, 6-0 in the first match and then followed with a 6-1, 6-1 win against Trevin Milbaur in the second. Freddy Wsiner defeated Ben Kroening 6-2, 6-1 and then downed Sam Lamotte 6-0, 6-1.
The top doubles team of Jared Haug and Connor Young would sweep Pacelli's Matthias Kroening and Charlie Kullick. The first match Young/Haug earned the 6-3, 6-2 win and followed it up with a 6-2, 6-2 victory.
Jared Fabich and Grant Gilbert would cruise to a 6-1, 6-2 match win against Lamotte and Chris Jensen. But then in the second match, Gilbert/Fabich fell in the first set 6-1 to Thomas Basala and Jensen. In the second set Fabich and Gilbert clawed their way back to take the second set 6-1 before earning a 10-6 in the third-set tiebreaker.
At No. 3 doubles, Rhinelander duo of Cade Aschenbrenner and Logan Oestreich defeated Andrew Pisarski and Issac Kosoloucki 6-1, 6-2. And Oestreich/Ashenbrenner would then down Kroening and Pisarski 6-0, 6-2. At No. 2 singles, Russell Benoy would have Rhinelander’s only losses of the day after a tough match up against Corey Baron.
The Hodags then followed it up with a convincing 7-0 sweep against Antigo at the RHS tennis courts on Thursday. Rhinelander would win all seven flights in straight sets against the Robins, which last about an hour.
Johnson would have the longest match of the evening but still cruised to a 6-2, 6-3 win against Tanner Stueck at the top singles flight. Benoy bounced back at No. 2 singles and won 6-0, 6-1 against Alex Gray. Weddle (No. 3 singles) and Wisner (No. 4 singles) both cruised to 6-0, 6-0 wins for the Hodags.
While Rhinelander's double teams also all won in straight sets and only lost seven games combined. Young and Haug would grind out a 6-2, 6-2 win at the No. 1 doubles flight against Brody Bunnell and Joe Bartletti.
Gilbert and Fabich made short-work against Jared McFarlane and Zach Reineke and won 6-1, 6-0. And Oestreich and Aschenbrenner had similar paths at No. 3 doubles and would win 6-0, 6-2.
The Hodags will travel to Appleton Xavier on Tuesday and then will be back in action at the RHS tennis courts on Thursday when they host a quadrangular against Ashland, Newman Catholic, and Shawano. This week’s boys' tennis schedule will be a look at the WIAA Division 2 subsectional that Rhinelander will host next Monday.