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Bradish earns third trip to state for New Richmond tennis team

Senior Casey Turnipseed blasts a return during a recent Tiger tennis match. 1 / 2
Senior Mitch Giannini (above) teamed with sophomore Russ Hop to give the Tigers a successful three doubles team.2 / 2

Threes weighed heavily in the success of the New Richmond boys tennis team at the Eau Claire Memorial Division 1 sectional tournament last Thursday.

New Richmond senior Nick Bradish earned his third trip to the WIAA state tennis championships with his third place finish in the one singles bracket at the sectional tournament.

The three other Tiger entries at the sectional tournament (two singles, three singles and three doubles) all finished in third place in their brackets. With this strong performance, New Richmond tied for third place in the team standings at the sectional tournament.

Eau Claire Memorial weighed in equally as importantly in the Tigers’ results at the sectional meet. All of the Tigers’ sectional entries were defeated once at the sectional tournament and all four losses came against Eau Claire Memorial. The Tigers weren’t alone in that case. Eau Claire Memorial didn’t lose a single match in the tournament, winning all seven flights.

Bradish, now 24-4 for the season, had extremely unfortunate luck when the Division 1 state tournament singles brackets were drawn this weekend. Bradish will face Nicolet junior Kevin Ballacer in the opening round of the tournament. Ballacer is Nicolet’s number two singles player, but Nicolet may be the best tennis program in the state. Ballacer has a 25-3 record. He won two matches at state last year, before losing in the third round to the two-time defending state champion.

Bradish has been defeated in the opening round of each of the past two state tournaments. It will likely take the best performance of his career to get his first win at state this year. Bradish and Ballacer are scheduled to play at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday. The state tournament is played at the Nielsen Tennis Stadium in Madison.

There was a major battle awaiting Bradish in his opening round match at the sectional meet. He faced Brendan Londergan and lost the opening set 7-6. Bradish regained his form in the second set to win 6-2. Londergan got ahead of Bradish in the third set, which was run in a tie-break format. Bradish had to battle back to win 10-8, securing his place at state.

In the semifinals, Bradish faced Kyle Wogahn of Memorial, who captured the sectional title. Bradish put up a great battle in the first set, leading 3-2. Wogahn finished with a 6-4, 6-0 win.

Bradish’s best match of the day was the third place match, where he rolled past Chippewa Falls senior David Arneberg 6-1, 6-4.

In three other flights, the Tigers lost to Eau Claire Memorial in the semifinals. At two singles, Jack Hop bounced back to top Luke Tepp of Onalaska 6-1, 7-5 in the third place match. Turnipseed finished his career with a dominating performance, beating Onalaska’s Josh McCauley 6-1, 6-2 in the three singles third place match.

Giannini and Russ Hop showed some grit in winning their third place match at three doubles. The Onalaska team they faced opened the day with a 13-1 record. Giannini and Hop battled their way to a 7-6, 6-3 win in the three doubles third place bout.

Montello said the team should take pride in its third place finish at the sectional meet, considering New Richmond is the smallest school in the bracket. The Tigers finished ahead of larger schools like Eau Claire North, Chippewa Falls and all the La Crosse area schools.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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