One doubles, Wolz win MBC tennis titles for Tigers
Two conference champions. Two second place finishes. Two third place finishes.
Getting six of your seven entries to place in the top three of the 2003 Middle Border Conference Tennis Tournament counts as a strong showing for the New Richmond boys tennis team.
Playing on their home courts last Tuesday, the Tigers earned one conference championship that was highly anticipated and one that was completely unexpected.
The anticipated conference championship came from juniors Charlie Bohl and Jeff Engel at one doubles. The surprise conference title was won by foreign exchange student Christian Wolz at four singles.
Engel and Bohl earned the top seed at one doubles, becoming a cohesive team since they switched over from singles. They started a bit sluggishly at the conference meet, losing their first set in the semifinals after drawing an opening round bye. The Tiger tandem then caught fire, beating Eau Claire Regis in the next two sets 6-1, 6-0.
In the finals Bohl and Engel faced the one doubles team from Baldwin-Woodville. This was a good opponent, but the Tigers prevailed 6-3, 6-2.
Tiger coach Mike Montello said Bohl and Engel are progressing each time they take the court, and they are looking forward to seeing what they can do in the WIAA tournaments.
Wolz's title is quite remarkable considering he never played tennis until this season. He has played ping pong (table tennis) extensively and it shows in his tennis style. He puts heavy wrist action into his shots the way ping pong players are taught to hit the ball.
Wolz was the fourth seed. He opened with a 6-0, 6-2 win over Eau Claire Regis, putting him in the semifinals against the top seed from Baldwin-Woodville. Wolz was patient, wearing down his B-W opponent to win 7-5, 6-3.
In the finals Wolz faced Vedran Uzeirovic of Amery. This was a battle of wills that stretched on for more than an hour after every other match in the tournament was completed. Wolz lost the opening set in a tie-breaker. Both players battled fatigue, with Uzeirovic getting cramps in his thighs. Wolz was able to come back, winning the second set 6-3, then taking the final set 6-1.
The second place finishes for the Tigers were produced by Andy Ronning at three singles and Dan Bethke and Brian Rehurek at three doubles.
Ronning was the second seed. He charged through his first two matches, winning the opener against Mondovi 6-1, 6-0. He beat Ellsworth in the semifinals 6-0, 6-3. In the finals Ronning met up with Nathan Borowicz of Baldwin-Woodville. Ronning had trouble with Borowicz's array of shots and was beaten in the finals 6-1, 6-1.
Bethke and Rehurek were the top seed at three doubles. After an opening bye, they beat Eau Claire Regis 7-5, 6-2.
This was another meeting with Baldwin-Woodville in the finals. B-W was able to take the match 6-3, 6-3.
"The B-W pair is playing very nicely and we struggled a bit," Montello said.
Taking third place for the Tigers was Cory Eller at two singles and the team of Shawn Anderson and Jordan Frye at two doubles.
Eller, the third seed, opened with a 6-0, 6-1 win. He then met Kyle Van Someren of Amery, the second seed, in the semifinals. This was a close match, but Van Someren showed a bit more experience and came away with a 6-4, 7-5 win.
That put Eller in the third place match against Josh Kerr of Ellsworth. Eller finished on a strong note, controlling the action in a 6-1, 6-3 win.
Anderson and Frye are a pair of sophomores who seem to have become a good match of skills. They opened with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Amery, putting them in the semifinals against Baldwin-Woodville.
Frye and Anderson came out firing, taking a 4-1 lead in the first set. The Blackhawk pair then caught fire, winning the match 6-4, 6-0. The B-W boys went on to win the two doubles title.
Anderson and Frye moved to the third place match against Mondovi. The two teams split the first two sets, each winning 6-4. The Tigers had more endurance, coming up with a 6-0 win in the third set.
The only Tiger entry who didn't place in the tournament was senior Jordan Fredrickson at one singles. He was beaten by an unseeded opponent from Ellsworth in the opening round.
The Tigers are now in WIAA Division 2 tournament action. The subsectional was held Tuesday. The sectional tournament will be held in New Richmond this Thursday. The sectional tournament play starts at 10 a.m.
2003 Middle Border Conference
No. 1: Jordan Fredrickson (NR) lost to Ben Gaard (Ells) 6-2, 6-3
No. 2: Cory Eller (NR) def. Ben Rood (Blo) 6-0, 6-1; lost to Kyle Van Someren 6-4, 7-5; def. Josh Kerr (Ells) 6-1, 6-3
No. 3: Andy Ronning (NR) def. Mike Jones (Mon) 6-1, 6-0; def. Jens Loberg (Ells) 6-0, 6-3; lost to Nathan Borowicz (B-W) 6-1, 6-1
No. 4: Christian Wolz (NR) def. Nate Menard (ECR) 6-0, 6-2; def. Justin Nygaard (B-W) 7-5, 6-3; def. Vedran Uzeriovic (Amery) 6-7, 6-3, 6-1
No. 1: Charlie Bohl and Jeff Engel (NR) had an opening bye; def. Billy Bowers and Dustin Warner (ECR) 6-7, 6-1, 6-0; def. Dan Schumacher and Jordan Howard 6-3, 6-2
No. 2: Shawn Anderson and Jordan Frye (NR) def. David Johnson and Drazen Piljic (Amery) 6-1, 6-0; lost to Bryan Bee and Erik Hoffman (B-W) 6-4, 6-0; def. Matt Korthauer and Ryan Heck (Mon) 6-4, 4-6, 6-0
No. 3: Dan Bethke and Brian Rehurek (NR) had an opening bye; def. Eric Becker and Mark Wickham (ECR) 7-5, 6-2; lost to Matt McCormick and Darin Larson (B-W) 6-3, 6-3