Homestead boys tennis teams wins Madison Memorial Invite despite suspensions
Singles players to lead Highlanders
With two of its top players out due to athletic code violation-based suspensions, the Homestead boys tennis team showed great resilience in getting its season formally under way with a nice championship in the Madison Memorial Spartan Invitational April 25 and 26.
"It's made life a little different," said veteran coach Jackie Egelhoff with a sigh. "Given the fact that we were missing two people, it was a good effort."
The Highlanders, defending North Shore Conference champions, will be led by a veteran singles corps, including senior state qualifiers Danny Coran and Will Kammerait back at the first and second spots, respectively.
At third singles will be senior Aaron Rempel and junior Daniel Wichman. All four spots are the same as last season.
In doubles, seniors Chase Gabriel and Jason Jesse will man the first spot, while senior Patrick Findling and junior Hunter Paykel will be at the two spot. A pair of newcomers, freshman Tucker Gabriel and sophomore Aaron Holman, are slotted into the third spot while varsity reserves include freshman Eric Mullins and senior Alec Schulz.
Given the spotty weather of this broken-up spring, Egelhoff was happy to get the two-day, four-match Memorial tournament in.
"All we'd really had before that was a scrimmage with Brookfield East, (defending state champion) Marquette and University School, but what was good about that was that we were at full-strength," said Egelhoff. "The competition is very close and tight. East, Marquette, Nicolet are all in this thing too and we're all trying to figure things out."
"This is a very good group," said Egelhoff. "They're bonding as a team and the seniors are supporting the underclassmen."
The shuffled line-up held up well at Memorial, said Egelhoff. The Highlanders swept both Memorial and Sun Prairie 7-0 in the early rounds before hanging on to beat Middleton, 4-3, in the semifinals. In the Middleton match, Mullins and Schulz pulled out a critical three-set win at third doubles to clinch the victory.
In the finals, the Highlanders downed Waunakee by a 6-1 score.
"Those last rounds I swear I was never more creative in my whole life (in creating a line-up)," said Egelhoff. "We need meets like this to create records (for seeding purposes). Some guys (those suspended) will not get these matches in and that may be a problem" come state seeding time.
The Highlanders were slated to have a busy schedule this week with three North Shore duals on the docket, including hosting Nicolet on Thursday, May 1, but the weather may be an issue.
On Saturday, May 3, Homestead will be at the Neenah Invitational.
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