By Rob Whitmire
The SPASH Boys Tennis team played host to an eight-team invitational Saturday afternoon at the SPASH, Goerke Park and University tennis courts. The Panthers finished the meet with 21 points, good for second place behind Eau Claire Regis.
Final standings saw Regis with 30 points, SPASH (21) Marshfield with (19) in third, La Crosse Logan (17) in fourth, Wisconsin Rapids (16) in fifth, Tomah (15) tied with Rhinelander in sixth and Pacelli (0) in eighth.
Jon Peck ran the table at No. 1 singles for the Panthers defeating Tanner DeChant (Tomah) 6-0, 6-0, then Derek Reckner (Marshfield)6-0, 6-0 and Dane Steidl (Wisconsin Rapids) 7-6,7-5.
“Our lone championship was at No. 1 singles and what a great match that was, “ observed Panther coach Gary Baier. “Both players played their heart out and it was truly a battle. It seemed like when one player was about to take control, it switched. Jon really kept his poise and was confident in his shots, even at the most critical moments.”
The Panther No.1 Doubles team of Grant Czaikowski and Garrek Wierzba took second with a 2-1 record including wins over Tyler Droste and Justin Twardowski form Marshfield (6-3, 6-3) and Wisconsin Rapids (Josh Beyer and Shane Glinski) 3-6, 6-3, 10-8. The Rapids duo returned to defeat SPASH in the championship round 6-3, 6-2.
“We have several players that are brand new to the team and the game,” said Baier. “They have made huge strides. I love the aggressive play of senior Grant Czaikowski and with veteran Garrek Wierzba, they will be a doubles team to be reckoned with. They attack the way a doubles team should and for them to finish as runners-up in their first tournament is amazing.”
Kyler and Carter Smigaj teamed up for a strong third place finish at No. 2 Doubles beating the Regis team of Jake Maenner and Austin Erickson 4-6, 6-4,10-8 before dropping their match with Tomah’s Jacob Parker and Michael Kelly 6-3, 6-1. They came back to defeat Rhinelander’s Ryan Kovak and Jared Fabich 6-2, 6-1 in the third place match.
“The number[s] two and three doubles teams have been amazing,” said Baier. “With zero varsity experience, Carter and Kyler Smigaj finished a strong third place, which is impressive. Our number three team of Aidan McManus and Joe Diekelman just need time; they are great athletes and are going to be a good team who will make plenty of noise at the conference meet.”
The varsity and Junior varsity teams will travel to Marshfield High School on Thursday, April 28 for a 4 PM match. The varsity will be right back on the courts Friday when they take part in the DePere Tennis Invitational. That match is scheduled for 1 PM.