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Raider netters go down fighting at state

Raider tennis players Sam Duchow, left, Mark Johnson and Jack Schulte pose for a picture in front of Nielsen Tennis Stadium on the campus of UW-Madison before the WIAA State Boys Tennis Tournament last week. Johnson went 2-1 in singles completion while Duchow and Schulte lost their opening round match. (Submitted photo)1 / 2
Sophomore Mark Johnson returns a shot in an early round match at the WIAA State Boys Tennis Tournament last Thursday in Madison.2 / 2

Hudson sophomore Mark Johnson won his first two matches before losing to the eventual repeat state champion, while the Raiders’ doubles team of Sam Duchow and Jack Schulte ran into a tough first round draw and were defeated in three sets at the WIAA State Boys Tennis Tournament in Madison last Thursday and Friday.

Johnson won his first two matches in straight sets before falling to senior Felix Corwin of Brookfield East, 0-6, 0-6. Corwin went on to win his second straight state title and will play Big Ten tennis at the University of Minnesota beginning in the fall.

“Against Brookfield East, Mark was just another victim as Corwin cruised to his second straight state title without anyone really threatening him,” Raider coach Dave Dahl said. “He just simply outclassed the field. Mark played up to his seed, which earned him second team All-State honors. He should be very proud of what he accomplished in his sophomore season.”

Johnson opened the tournament with an impressive 6-3, 6-3 win over Charlie Sprinkman of Hartland Arrowhead.

“Sprinkman was extremely quick and played nothing but defense,” Dahl noted. “I’m sure he drove many opponents crazy this year, but Mark has enough offensive weapons that he was able to dispose of him.”

Johnson drew a familiar opponent in round two – David Arneberg of Chippewa Falls – and beat him handily, 6-3, 6-2.

“Arneberg is a quality player, but Mark has always matched up well against him and Mark took control of this match and never let it go,” Dahl said.

Seniors Duchow and Schulte went up against seeded opponents Brad Guendel and Matt Bemis of Greendale in the opening round and lost a hard-fought 6-4, 3-6, 3-10 decision.

“For some reason in doubles we just cannot avoid drawing a seeded team in the first round and this year was no different,” Dahl said. “Sam and Jack came out and played composed and confident, which isn’t a given under the circumstances. We were every bit as good as Greendale, but it just didn’t go our way in the super-tiebreaker. It was a tough loss, but I’m real proud of these two for getting there and showing so well.”

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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