Boys tennis: FVC title a first for Huntley
Thirteen years ago when Barry Wells took over the Huntley boys tennis program he was lucky to find 11 athletes to fill a full lineup.
Fast forward to over a decade later and Wells not only has 11 quality players but the Red Raiders have their first Fox Valley Conference championship.
With two first place efforts, four seconds and a third, the Red Raiders captured the FVC title Saturday at the Crystal Lake Tennis and Racquet Club with 55 points.
Prairie Ridge was second with 47 points and Jacobs placed third with 45 points.
"When I started 13 years ago we had trouble getting 11 kids to come out for the team," said Wells. "Now we have 11 quality players and quality kids with high character. We have incredible depth on this team. We got 6 out of 7 teams in the finals."
The best championship match of the day came at No. 4 doubles.
The Huntley duo of Drake Southwell-Andrew Burkey finished FVC action undefeated at 11-0 with a thrilling comeback 2-6, 6-4, 12-10 win over Cary-Grove's Pat Miller-Joe Stanley.
"We stayed calm after losing the first game," said Southwell. "It was all about a mindset."
Said Burkey: "Our goal was to win conference undefeated. It is a great feeling. We knew it was crucial to get our serves in."
The other champion for the Red Raiders was Tom Patel, who defeated Crystal Lake South's Sam Palmer 6-4, 6-1 to win the title at No. 3 singles.
Finishing second were the No. 1 doubles team of Julian Collins-Jack Soderwall), the No. 2 doubles team of Jack Adams-Blake Michels and the No. 3 doubles team of Abhilash Parath-Ben Saiz, along with Justin Schlee at No. 2 singles.
Saarav Desai placed third at No. 1 singles.
Jacobs, led by a second straight FVC title at No. 1 singles from Kerwin Chong finished third. Chong defeated Crystal Lake Central's John Wallace 6-4, 6-3 in the title match.
"There was a lot of pressure," said Chong. "I was very humble and knew I had to play well to beat a very good player in John. I stayed calm and kept my strokes solid. The mental aspect all day was important. "
Jacobs' Kyle Burton was dominant at No. 2 singles defeating Schlee of Huntley in the title match 6-2, 6-0.
Cary-Grove was fourth with 37 points.
Miller-Stanley were second at No. 4 doubles while Isaac Rands-Ted Conneen at No. 2 doubles and Ted Price-Colin Enstrom at No. 3 doubles were third.
Hampshire tied Crystal Lake Central for fifth with a score of 29.
The Whip-Purs got third place efforts from Abe Hougland-Blake Snider at No. 1 doubles and Dan Hawkey-Josh Milan at No. 4 doubles.
South, seventh with 26 points, received a second-place finish from Palmer at No. 3 singles while Dundee-Crown was eighth with 22 points, paced by a fourth-place finish by Sneh Shah at No. 2 singles.