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.