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Boys' Tennis: Raiders sectional runner-up

The Hudson Raider boys' tennis poses with the WIAA Division 1 Sectional runner-up plaque at the Menard YMCA Indoor Tennis Center in Eau Claire Wednesday, May 23. From left are Brock Wimer, Jack Geurkink, Tyler Grosz, Luke Holmberg, Issac Young, Jacob Grosz, Blake Royer, Andrew Bolles and Cole Peters. On the shoulders of Young, and holding the sectional runner-up plaque, is Lukas Johnson. Photo courtesy of John Knutson

After advancing all ten players out of Monday's subsectional, the Hudson boys' tennis team finished runner-up to Eau Claire Memorial at the WIAA Division 1 Sectional Wednesday, May 23, in Eau Claire.

Eau Claire Memorial claimed the team title with 54 points while the Raiders were second with 42. La Crosse Central was a distant third with 27.

“When you have 16 pretty good teams from two sections of the state and Hudson finishes just behind Memorial and 15 points ahead of the next team, that's pretty good,” Raider coach John Knutson said.

Tyler Grosz, at No. 1 singles, and Luke Holmberg and Jacob Grosz, at No. 1 doubles, guaranteed themselves berths in the WIAA State Tournament by virtue of second place finishes in their respective flights, but Knutson is holding out hope they will be joined at state by some of their teammates as extra qualifiers. A WIAA seeding committee will entertain all qualifiers and consider a few additional spots to fill out the 68 slots on the bracket for the state singles and doubles titles.

Knutson said he believes the No. 2 doubles team of Isaac Young and Blake Royer deserve a spot at state, along with Lukas Johnson, who won the sectional title at No. 3 singles.

“It's awfully tough to get consideration for a No. 3 player in singles or doubles, but with the sectional win, he certainly should be considered,” Knutson said about Johnson.

Hudson reached the finals in six of the seven flights, but only the No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles finalists were guaranteed berths at state. Despite going undefeated at No. 3 singles, including Liam Obiad of Eau Claire Memorial in the finals, Johnson will have to wait for his state tournament invitation.

Obiad had beaten Johnson in their two previous matches, including the Big Rivers Conference Tournament, and is the stepson of John Menard, who along with his wife Fay built the Menard YMCA Indoor Tennis Center where the sectionals were held.

“That probably was not the most gracious way to treat the hosts, but we were all sure proud of Lukas for winning that match,” Knutson said.

Brock Wimer finished second at No. 4 singles, and Young and Royer at No. 2 doubles, and Cole Peters and Jack Geurkink, at No. 3 doubles, all finished second to Eau Claire Memorial opponents while Andrew Bolles placed fourth at No. 2 singles.

Hudson assistant coach John Dahl said the Raiders played some of their best tennis of the year at the sectional.

“They deserve the honors and the recognition they are getting,” he said. “I believe the 42 points scored is a new Hudson boys' tennis record. I'm looking forward to seeing three or more of our guys competing in the state tournament in a week or so.”

The Raiders set themselves up for the sectional by getting all ten players in all seven flights advance through the subsectional round two days earlier in Eau Claire.

“With Eau Claire Memorial and Hudson being awarded the first and second seeds in all seven spots, I knew we'd have a great opportunity to get many of our players through to sectional play,” Knutson said. “Last year we got seven of our ten players through and this year we thought we could do a little better, and we did. We advanced all ten of our players to sectional and it was as good as we could have possibly hoped for!”

The WIAA Boys' State Tennis Championships are scheduled for May 31-June 2, at the University of Wisconsin's Nielsen Tennis Stadium in Madison.

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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