The Chemic Boys tennis team is advancing to the MHSAA Division One state finals for the third consecutive season after tying for second place and earning 20 points at the Regional Tournament held on Thursday, October 8th at the Midland Community Tennis Center.
Sophomore Brandon Johnson was the lone Regional Champion. The top seed in the #3 singles bracket, Johnson defeated unseeded Matt Read of Grand Blanc (6-0, 7-5) and #4 seed AJ Ebling of Traverse City West (6-1, 6-0) on the way to the finals where he would face the #2 seed, Traverse City Central senior Michael Meindertsma. Johnson had beaten Meindertsma in Traverse City in September. The rematch resulted in a 6-4, 6-2 win for Johnson. Coach Jordan Palladino said, “Brendan has been working hard, and it paid off. That final match was tough, but he stayed in the match and pulled it out.” Johnson added, “It was great to reach states again as a team. I felt we could have played better in the finals, but it is still an amazing opportunity.”
Senior Weondong Hwang reached the semifinals in #1 singles play where he ran into the eventual champion and dominant top seed, Hunter Li from Grand Blanc.
Senior Nathan Haut gave the eventual tournament champion Andy Colombo of Traverse City Central his best match of the day in the #4 singles semifinal. Haut took the first set 7-6 before dropping the next two 2-6, 2-6. In fact, Colombo would not lose a single game to any other opponent.
All four doubles flights title matches featured Traverse City Central against Midland. Unfortunately for the Chemics, the Trojans came out on top in each championship. “We played some good, hard-fought doubles matches,” Palladino said. “We didn’t win any, but a couple of them were really close. I’m very pleased with how we played today.”
The closest match came at #3 doubles where Chemics Jacob Gomez and Josiah Greiner split the first two sets with top seeds Ben Brown & Chase Berden by winning 7-5 in first set and dropping the second set in a tiebreaker 7-6 (1). The Chemics had a 4-0 lead in the final set, but ran out of steam and lost 4-6.
Other second place finishers include: Josh Hentschel (12th) & Brendan Doyle (11th) at #1 doubles, Kyler Bruce (12th) & Cam Mills (9th) at #2 doubles, and Kyle Taylor (12th) & Luke Pajk (10th) at #4 doubles.
Hentschel and Doyle
Mills and Bruce
Taylor and Pajk
Senior Josh Hentschel said, “It was great to reach states again as a team. I felt we could have played better in the finals, but it is still an amazing opportunity.”
#1 singles player, Weondong Hwang added, “Our goal every year is to make the state tournament. It is always a great accomplishment especially this year with our region being so deep. With that being said we aren’t done yet and we want to do some damage at states.”
The Chemics finished in 15th place in last year’s state finals. The 2015 MHSAA Division One state championship will take place at the Midland Community Tennis Center on Friday, October 16th.