The Midland high tennis team did something it hadn’t done in four years, and that was qualify for the MHSAA State Tournament by taking 2nd place yesterday in the nine team regional. It was an all-around team effort, as every flight won at least one match. The Chemics dominated with their singles lineup, as top seeds Luke Mills, Jonathan Hentschel, and Drew Davis all went 3-0 to win their flights.
At number one singles, Mills advanced to his second consecutive state tournament by defeating Saginaw Heritage 6-0, 6-4; Traverse City Central 6-0, 6-0; and Grand Blanc in a tough three set battle 3-6, 6-3, 6-1. Hentschel, who won yet another tournament at number two singles, defeated Traverse City West 6-2, 6-4; Traverse City Central 6-2, 7-6; and Grand Blanc 7-5, 6-3. Meanwhile Davis continued his mastery of the fourth singles flight by destroying Holt 6-2, 6-1; Grand Blanc 6-2, 6-1; and Saginaw Heritage 6-0, 6-3. The key player for the Chemics was Derek Jacob at three singles. The senior, who was unseeded in is flight, stepped up and took out the top seed from Grand Blanc in straight sets 6-3, 6-4, after dominating Carmen Ainsworth 6-0, 6-0. He then gutted out a 3rd set victory in the semifinals over the #4 seed in Saginaw Heritage, by the score of 4-6, 6-3, 6-3. Despite falling in the finals to Traverse City Central, he gave the team three huge points.
To qualify for the state tournament, a team must finish first or second in the regional, or earn at least 18 points. The Chemics took second with 22, which was two points ahead of Grand Blanc, but four shy of Traverse City Central who had 26. Grand Blanc, who had won 5 straight regional titles, was knocked out in all four singles flights by Midland to come in third place. Grand Blanc also lost in all four doubles championship matches, but still earned enough points to qualify.
The #7 ranked Traverse City Central team captured all four doubles flights and the third singles flight. Earning one win a piece in doubles for Midland was the tandem of Eric Mier and Yoodong Hwang at number one, who crushed Grand Ledge 6-1, 6-1. The number two team of Wongdong Hwang and Nathan Klopfenstein came up big by upsetting #4 seeded Holt 7-5, 6-1. Kyle Wagner and Blake Groulx, in kind, edged Davison at number three 7-6, 6-4. And at number four, the duo of Mitchell Ensz and Adam Regier rolled Grand Ledge 6-0, 6-0. All four doubles teams lost their second round matchup to the #1 seeds from Traverse City Central.
The Chemics will play next Friday at the MHSAA State Tournament, which is hosted at the Midland Community Tennis Center.