Boys tennis: Naperville Central duo falls in final to Hinsdale Central
If you're going to be the best, you have to beat the best.
On Saturday at the boys state tennis tournament, Hinsdale Central's Joseph Daw and Noah Hernandez proved too much for Naperville Central doubles partners Blake Roegner and Daanyal Saeed.
"Blake and Daanyal had a great tournament, but they were beaten by the better team today. But that's not to take anything away from my guys who were a terrific No. 2 team (playing) No. 2 guys all year (so) we didn't really know how good they were until we got to state," said Redhawks coach Dan Brown.
Brown and his staff have plenty to look forward to next spring with all six of his players returning to give the Redhawks the look of a top-three team in 2020.
But there was no stopping Hinsdale Central again this spring.
Singles player Robert Daniel Schmelka and teammates Daw and Hernandez helped Hinsdale Central extend its incredible run at the state tournament to 22 team titles Saturday afternoon at the Tom Pitchford Tennis Complex in Arlington Heights.
The Red Devils trio won at both singles and doubles to help Hinsdale Central collect 45 points over the three days to win its second consecutive state championship, fourth in the last six years.
New Trier finished second overall with 34 points, Stevenson (29) third, and Lyons Township (20) and Naperville Central (18) rounding out the top five.
Schmelka (18-4) saw off the threat of fellow sophomore Max Sheldon (35-3) to win a second consecutive singles title, following former teammate Zack Elliot's successful run one year ago.
Schmelka and Sheldon coped well with some strange weather conditions, which at times went from hot and humid, to cool, cloudy and windy in a moments notice.
"Danny did a great job of dictating play with Max. He used the whole court, was sharp when he had to be and was mentally strong when he had to be in order to come out ahead," said Hinsdale Central coach John Naisbitt after watching his No. 1 man claim a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Sheldon.
Daw and Hernandez (21-1) were nearly unstoppable over the three days, never conceding a set to their six opponents, including the Naperville Central team of Blake and Saeed (26-2).
The Neuqua Valley doubles team of Alex Neuman and Jack Considine (21-10) enjoyed a 3-0 first day of play, ending Thursday with an impressive 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 victory over 3-4 Glenbard West seed Griffin Foster-Christo Maltby.
The Wildcats' duo bounced back from a loss in the quarterfinals to Hinsdale Central to win its consolation quarterfinal over Glenbrook North (Riad-Park) then having its season come to an end at the hands of the No. 2 seed from New Trier (Drier-Wagh) at Buffalo Grove High School.
"I am not surprised at all about the way Alex and Jack played here at the tournament," Wildcats coach Trudy Bennorth said.
"They're both extremely athletic and talented, and their will to win, and the intensity they bring into each match has helped them come together at the right time of the year."
Wheaton Warrenville junior Phasu Sirinity for the third consecutive year went 4-2 overall, giving him 12 victories at state.
The Tigers' No. 1 man won the Lake Park sectional crown a year ago and was second as a freshman to Wheaton North's Kevin Li.
Over in the 1A tournament, Wheaton Academy has a head start on the 2020 season as well, with three of its five state qualifiers back in Warriors uniforms.
Two of those five starters, Owen Setran and Devin Greeno, will be off to college, but the Warriors doubles team came close to taking home the first state title in program history.
No. 1 seed Normal U-High (Thomas Moh-Tyler Bowers) had a little two much for the Warriors team in a 6-3, 7-6(5) decision.
"When you get to the state final you always want to win it all, but we were happy to finish second to a great team, and proud of our effort, and to be a part of Wheaton Academy tennis," Setran said.
"Normal was a very deserving state champion. (Tyler) Bowers was a big-time player and a guy we tried to stay away from as much as we could, but we fought hard right until the end, and gave it our best effort, and left everything out there today," Greeno added.
The second-place finish by the Setran-Greeno team helped the Warriors take home a third-place team trophy with 23 points, 5 behind second-place Chicago Northside.
Normal U-High ran away from the Class 1A field with 39 points.
Montini junior David Batka earned his second consecutive state medal, this one at singles after his fourth-place finish.
Glenbard South senior Alex Bergendorf ended his senior season by walking out of the Class 1A tournament with a sixth-place medal. Bergendorf was a three-time state qualifier, winning 12 matches against just six losses, one of which coming at the hands of state runner-up Dorath Chamarthi (Normal University) on Friday.
Bergendorf, who went 3-0 on his first day, is also a two-time sectional champion.