Hersey's Sheldon on track, will play in state quarterfinals Friday

By Mike Garofola
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 6/10/2021 7:00 PM

Steamy conditions would great the field on the first day of play at the boys state tennis tournament Thursday, however the top seeds beat the heat to advance into quarterfinal action Friday morning in both the Class 1A and 2A competition.

Top seed Max Sheldon (Hersey, 27-1) would defeat longtime Mid-Suburban League rival Casey Hishinuma (Fremd, 21-5) Thursday on his home courts, and will now face 5-8 seed Nikita Filin (New Trier, 14-3) Friday morning in Arlington Heights in an 8 a.m. quarterfinal.


"The heat was doable, but I began to feel it a little more in my third rounder with Casey," admitted Sheldon, who was runner-up in 2019. "I felt that Casey deserved a 5-8 seed instead of 9-16. Hopefully he'll have a long run in the back draw."

All front draw 1A quarterfinals will be played at Buffalo Grove on Friday, with tourney host Hersey the place to be for 2A action.

Consolation matches will continue to be played at several area locations, so to keep up on all of the action, go to the IHSA boys tennis website for results all throughout the second day of play.

The Huskies' top doubles team of Mitch Sheldon-Kacper Pasielek (26-6) recorded a mild upset in their third round contest with 5-8 Stevenson (Payton Adkisson-Daniel Tulchinskiy) when they won in two sets (6-2, 6-3) at Fremd as the 9-16 seed.

"We were very good with our serves, and poaching at the net. It was probably the best we've played all year thus far," said the freshman Sheldon, who along with Pasielek claimed a sectional title a week ago.

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The Huskies' duo will now play 3-4 seed Hinsdale Central (Jai Vallurupalli-Mujtaba Ali-Khan), who are undefeated in nine matches.

MSL rival and 5-8 seed Barrington (Ethan Paik-Ammar Wazir, 28-4) remain alive in the front draw following three impressive victories on Thursday to set up a quarterfinal with top seed Colin Fox-John Rogers of New Trier.

"We didn't play as well as we know we can last week at sectionals, so we wanted to come out today right from the start and take more chances, and risks and that's exactly what we did," agreed the Broncos' duo.

The 2019 2A state runner-up, and No. 2 seed, Naperville Central's Blake Roegner-Daanyal Saeed will take a 21-2 record into a quarterfinal with 5-8 Glenbard West (Andrew Immink-Sullivan Montieth) in Arlington Heights.

"Andrew and Sully's lone loss was to Hinsdale in three sets, so we had hoped for a good seed at state, and now we'll look to take advantage of it," said Hilltoppers head coach Tad Keely.


Immink will play next fall at Fairfield University in Connecticut.

There was more good news at doubles in the Class 1A meet where 3-4 seed Benet Academy (Noah Bobofchak-Andrew Donovan) cruised into the quarterfinals where they will meet 5-8 Vernon Hills (Eric Rodriguez-Andrew Tikhonov, 21-7) after the Cougars' No. 1 team sent off 9-16 Sammy Valeo-Tommy King from Timothy Christian in three sets.

Teammates Keshav Trikha-Tarun Bathini will join Rodriguez-Tikhonov in the quarters, the first time ever in program history the Cougars have advanced both doubles teams into the front draw on the second day of play.

"It took us a while to get things sorted out, and for us to feel comfortable as doubles partners, but we're hitting our stride right now at the best time," suggested Donovan, who in 2019 was a state qualifier at doubles along with Danny McCulgan after capturing the ESCC doubles crown.

"We played a lot of solid 2A teams, all who are here this weekend, so that's why we started out 1-6 but we haven't lost since and we've beat every 1A team we've faced since then," added Bobofchak.

Crystal Lake South junior Jackson Schuetzle (31-4) continues to impress in-this his second 1A state appearance after a trio of straight-set victories sent the 3-4 Gators top man into quarterfinal play against 5-8 Wheaton Academy senior Jacob Williams, here for the third time.

Aidan Hilson (9-16 seed), runner-up at sectionals to Williams last weekend, outlasted 5-8 Christian Abban (Grayslake North) 6-4, 6-3 to advance.

"It was important to get myself hydrated before we began to play and all throughout the day and to stay away from the big forehand and serve (Christian) has," said Hilson, who takes on top seed Sujan Garapati of Chicago Latin at Buffalo Grove.

Burlington Central junior Luke Welker, who came in as the 5-8 seed, awaits his opponent in the semifinals following his 6-2, 6-3 victory over Noah Williams of Springfield.

"After being injured here two years ago in my first trip to state today is a big day for me and I look forward to having a great tournament," said Welker, who was forced to take a default in 2019 after suffering a back injury before his fourth match of the tourney.

Welker was coached by his older brother Nicholas at sectionals, who in 2018 finished third overall in the 1A tournament.

Off its success at doubles on day No. 1, Vernon Hills finds itself in second place along with Wheaton Academy with 15 points and chasing Chicago Latin, who is atop the leaderboard with 20 points.

As predicted, the 2A team race is between Hinsdale Central and New Trier, who are even with each other with 24 overall points.

Thanks in part to its one-two punch at singles (Thomas Nelson and Kyle McNally) FVC co-champion Jacobs is in a four-way tie with Barrington, Fremd and Hersey for third place with 13 points.

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