All 10 Raiders place at BRC Tourney
Senior captain Tyler Grosz won the individual title at No. 1 singles and younger brother and co-captain, sophomore Jacob Grosz, won the No. 2 singles title as all 10 Hudson players placed at the Big Rivers Conference boys' tennis tournament Saturday, May 11, in Eau Claire.
Eau Claire Memorial swept all three doubles titles and two of four in singles to claim its 24th straight BRC championship but Raider coach John Knutson said it was gratifying to see the Grosz brother come through at the top two singles positions.
"Eau Claire Memorial is always tough and they expect to win," he said. "I promise you that Eau Claire Memorial is not feeling very good about dropping the top two positions like that. Even more gratifying is that all 10 of our varsity players placed in the tournament, with two first place finishes, two second place finishes, and three third place finishes. We couldn't have asked for better. The way our guys fought today was impressive."
In addition to Tyler and Jacob Grosz taking first, senior captain Luke Johnson placed second at No. 3 singles and Mitchell Drost and Isaac Hennemann took second at No. 2 doubles, while Kade Nickerson, at No. 4 singles, Jack Geurkink and Brett Covey at No. 1 doubles, and Lewis Holmberg and Charlie Neuenschwander at No. 3 doubles, all took third.
"Uncharacteristically, we dropped three 10-point tie breakers but all three teams came back and won their matches playing for third place finishes which helped us to secure the second spot overall in the Big Rivers behind Memorial," Knutson noted. "You gotta give Memorial credit, they've been so good for so long, but Hudson deserves some respect, too, for earning the top two finishes in the conference for singles."
Tyler Grosz entered the tournament undefeated in conference play and earned the top seed and a first round bye before posting a 6-2, 6-0 win over Sean Martin in the semifinals and beating Sam Rechek of Eau Claire Memorial, 6-2, 6-2, for the title.
Jacob Grosz also had a first round bye at No. 2 singles as the No. 2 seed behind undefeated Mark Pepperl of Eau Claire Memorial and after beating Zach Zaborske of Menomonie 6-2, 6-0 in the semifinals, handed Pepperl his first loss of the season, 6-4, 6-4, in the title match.
"It was impressive watching both Tyler and Jacob Grosz win championships at the two most prominent positions," Raider assistant coach John Dahl said. "Eau Claire Memorial isn't used to losing, and their especially not used to losing at the top two spots. Both Ty and Jacob played well today with outstanding point strategy and execution to earn the hard-fought wins."
Johnson beat Eau Claire North's Tyler Stokka 6-2, 6-0 to reach the title match at No. 3 singles before losing to Memorial 6-1, 6-3, to take second place, while Drost and Hennemann beat Eau Claire North before losing to Memorial 6-2, 6-2 in the title match at No. 2 doubles.
Nickerson dropped a tiebreaker in his first round match but came back to claim third place at No. 4 singles with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Isaac Lashley of Eau Claire North, and Geurkink and Covey lost to Menomonie in the semifinals at No. 1 doubles before coming back to beat Chippewa Falls 6-0, 6-1, in the third place match. Holmberg and Neuenschwander clinched third with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Eau Claire North.
Tyler and Jacob Grosz both earned first team All-Big Rivers Conference honors for their play and Geurkink and Covey at No. 1 doubles, Drost and Hennemann at No. 2 doubles and Johnson at No. 3 singles, all earned spots on the second team.
The Raiders will play a triangular with River Falls and New Richmond Thursday, May 16, in New Richmond before WIAA Subsectionals Monday, May 20, in Eau Claire and sectionals Wednesday, May 22, in Wisconsin Rapids.