Boys tennis: Fremd edges Hersey to win MSL tournament

Fremd turned in a masterful final day of tennis to edge rival Hersey Saturday and claim the 2024 MSL Conference tournament crown by a slim 54-52 score.

"It was a great day of tennis," said an elated Fremd coach Jonny Kent.

"(This) was a big moment for our school and tennis program. Although we've had a lot of great years, we've only won or split the conference tournament eight times now. So this is so big for us, especially in such a talent loaded year in the MSL."

The Vikings would share the overall league title with MSL East champion Hersey after finishing second overall in the MSL West division behind Conant.

"We beat Barrington 5-2 during the regular season which gave us 29 wins, and six losses in league play, and it was that 5-2 victory that gave us one more win than Fremd (28-7) that gave us the division title," said Conant coach Matt Marks.

"With a lineup today that had seven freshmen, I cannot tell you how proud I am of our guys, and how excited we all are with our future after winning our first ever division championship."

The Vikings were able to go just by Hersey thanks in part to a handful of head-to-head matches along the way -- plus to a title at No. 3 singles from Jacek Kawczynski and a trio of championships at three of the four flights at doubles.

Last year’s state singles champion Andrew Spurck, playing doubles with two-time doubles state qualifier Amaye Shyani, willed themselves to victory according to Kent over Hersey's No. 1 team of Matthew Sikorski-Jakub Pasielak (9-2) 4-6, 6-1, 11-9 in their final.

The Vikings No. 3 and 4 doubles both won in straight sets to claim their top prize.

Jason Li-Stanley Zeng (6-0) beat Barrington’s Arman Thind-Jainik Shroff 7-5, 6-1 while their teammates at No. 4 Ved Mistry-Patrick Sze (8-1) were 6-1, 6-3 victors over the Hersey duo of Joey Aiello-Drew Smith, 6-1, 6-3.

"Mitch (Sheldon) and Brent Chen played superb tennis all throughout to win at No. 1 and 2 singles. And my guys at No. 1 dubs (Sikorski-Pasielak) were great also and showed they belong in the top tier of state doubles teams," said Hersey coach Andy Walton.

Sheldon, now 24-1 on the season, further solidified his spot as one of the top two seeds at state when that tournament begins in two weeks.

"It would have been nice to be a part of history to win this tournament outright, but I feel like our team has a very good chance of winning sectionals next week," said Sheldon, who beat the talented Fremd sophomore Shashwat Srivasta (16-3) in straight sets to earn his second consecutive MSL singles crown.

The Huskies will host Fremd and eight other clubs at their own sectional next weekend.

Barrington missed out on yet another in a long line of championship trophies following its third place finish on the final day of play.

"Every year since 2012 we've either shared or outright won this tournament, but we came up a little short today in a very good and crowded field," said Barrington coach John Roncone.

Broncos fans would celebrate its lone title on the day at No. 2 doubles when Nolan Pearson-Sohan Yousfi (11-6) outlasted Hersey’s Andrew Weber-Ben Werling 6-4, 2-6, 10-2.

Pearson along with Sahil Mittal won three at state a year ago, finishing with an impressive 22-4 overall record.

"We played our best tennis of the year on the day we needed (to) and it's great that this group will now have a place on the MSL banner forever," Kent said.

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