For most of the DuPage County boys tennis players who advanced to this year's state tournament, it was all about gaining experience for the future.
An underclassmen-heavy group learned Thursday at various sites around the Northwest Suburbs it can succeed at the state tournament, but success is far from guaranteed.
Take Benet's team, for example. Four of the five Redwings who qualified for state are juniors or younger. They will have a chance to earn their way back next year.
Freshman Patrick McGuigan and sophomore Riley Marshall fell in the second round of doubles play to Buffalo Grove's Peter Georgiades and Anton Levitin 7-5, 6-4. They advanced through the second round of the consolation bracket Thursday.
Benet's Stephen Kovach and Pete Mannebach, both juniors, lost in the first round of doubles play to St. Charles North's Aaron Amburgey and Grant Spellman 6-4, 6-4. They won their first consolation match.
"Overall I think we're real happy," Redwings coach Michael Hand said. "Could we be playing better? Yes. Could we be doing worse? Yes. But I think the experience level, especially for the younger kids, there's only two of the five who have played here before."
Noah Read, the lone senior in the Benet bunch, lost in the second round of singles play to Peter Tarwid of Lake Forest, the tournament's No. 2 seed, 6-0, 6-0.
"Noah's playing OK," Hand said. "He hurt himself a little toward the end of the season so he's playing as well as we can expect. He's playing better than he was about a week ago when we weren't sure what was going on with his knee."
Glenbard West sophomore Nate Dell, seeded 17-32, made it through his first two matches and looked good to start his third match, winning the first set from Metamora senior Will Koehrsen 6-0. But Koehrsen, a No. 5-8 seed, won the second set 6-0 and then the third 6-1 to send Dell to consolation play.
Wheaton Warrenville South sophomore Charlie McDonough lost in the third round of singles play to Marian Catholic's Kyle Scheffers, a 9-16 seed, 6-2, 6-1.
Neuqua Valley's two singles players and two doubles teams all found themselves in the consolation bracket, where they were doing well. Junior Amit Iyer and sophomore Brett Meyer were alive in singles play. Jackson Keating (freshman)/Colton Luburgh (senior) and Michael Emory (junior)/Gabriel Del Galdo (junior) were in doubles play.
Waubonsie Valley freshman Suveer Kothuri advanced through the third round of the consolation bracket.
Naperville Central freshman Bill Zhang lost in the third round and went into the consolation bracket.
Lake Park sophomore Piotr Lada fell in the second round of consolation play.