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Raider tennis team goes to state in two flights

Hudson's boys' tennis team finished in the top four in every flight and qualified for this weekend's WIAA State Tournament in two flights following play at last Wednesday's sectional tournament in Marshfield.

The Raiders finished second in the 16-team field with a total of 36 points. Eau Claire Memorial won the sectional title with 56.

Hudson's No. 1 singles player Max Hawksford finished second to earn his third straight trip to state while the No. 1 doubles team of Jeff Dahl and Griffin Robertson qualified for state for the first time with a second place finish.

Head coach Dave Dahl said the entire Hudson team played well at the Marshfield sectional. No Raider singles or doubles competitor finished lower than fourth in their respective flights.

"In a 16-team field, it's a pretty good accomplishment to have everyone finish somewhere in the top four," he said. "I'm very proud of these kids. These are some of Hudson's finest, and they did a great job of representing our school."

Hawksford won his first match, 6-0, 6-0, over Rhinelander to clinch his third straight trip to state and went on to beat Stevens Point, 6-2, 6-2, before falling to Eau Claire Memorial, 7-5, 6-1, in the first place match.

"Max was not going to be denied his third straight trip to state," Dahl said. "He looked very sharp today, and I'm sure he's going to show well in Madison."

Robertson and Jeff Dahl also needed just one win Wednesday to earn a state berth and did that with a 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-0 victory over a team from Wausau East. They went on to another three-set victory -- 5-7, 6-3, 7-6(2 -- over Wausau West before falling to Eau Claire Memorial, 6-3, 6-2.

"It was good to see them respond in a big way to some high pressure moments today," Coach Dahl said about Raiders' the No. 1 doubles team. "They closed very strong against East and fought off five match points against West before finally taking control in the third set tiebreaker."

Max Cherrier won his first match at No. 4 singles, 6-2, 6-3, at No. 4 singles before losing to Eau Claire Memorial, 6-0, 6-0 to finish second in his flight.

"Max, in his first varsity season, should be very pleased with what he accomplished."

Jack Schulte took third at No. 3 singles, losing his first match to Marshfield, 6-4, 6-4, before beating Stevens Point, 0-6, 6-1, 6-2.

"After a tough first round loss and a slow start in his second match, Jack really dug in and finished very strong," Dahl said.

The No. 2 doubles team of Kody Owens and Ben Klundt also took third, losing to Wausau West, 6-3, 7-5, before beating Marshfield, 6-4, 6-1.

"After a narrow loss, it was nice to see these two end their season with a win," Dahl said.

Cal Johnson finished fourth at No. 2 singles, losing to Stevens Point and dropping a three-set match to Marshfield, 6-3, 4-6, 2-6.

"No one fought harder than Cal this year, and what he accomplished in his first varsity season was fantastic," Dahl said.

The No. 3 doubles team of Sam Duchow and Jake Shreffler also finished fourth, losing in three sets to Marshfield and dropping a tiebreaker to Wausau East.

"These two just couldn't get the key break, but as usual gave a great effort," Dahl said.

Hawksford, 20-5 on the season, will face Chayce Roecker (14-6) of Kettle Moraine in a state tournament first round singles match Thursday, May 31, at 2 p.m. Robertson and Jeff Dahl, 16-5, will open tournament play against Andy Krugler and Charlie Bostwick (16-3) of Whitefish Bay Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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