Negaunee wins 5 flights for Kingsford tennis title

KINGSFORD — Though the championship round focus was on a three-set match at No. 1 singles between West Iron County freshman Holden Ross and Escanaba’s Josh Grassel, Negaunee carried off more hardware than the rest of the field combined at the Kingsford Invitational high school boys tennis tournament on Saturday.

That’s because the Miners won the team title by winning championships at five of the eight flights. Negaunee scored 20 points to beat out WIC’s 16 with Escanaba third with 13. Kingsford had 11, Iron Mountain 5 and Menominee 4.

“We’ve had a busy two weeks and it’s good we’ve continued to respond,” NHS coach Kyle Saari said. “Winning a tournament before the conference or (Upper Peninsula Finals) can prepare everyone for later. It was a solid team effort, but we can’t be satisfied and have to continue improving.”

At the No. 1 singles final, though, Grassel won the first set on a tiebreaker, 7-6 (8-6), while Ross took the second 7-5. A 10-7 tiebreaker decided the match.

“That was a marathon,” Kingsford coach John VanDusen said.

Negaunee’s Jackson Sager and Drew Lindberg defeated WIC’s Brandon Henschel and Kevin Ballinger 4-6, 6-3, 12-10 in the championship match at No. 1 doubles.

The Miners also won titles at No. 3 doubles with Ander Sorenson and Mason Hemmila and No. 4 doubles with Tom Kinjorski and Erik Salminen.

In singles, Negaunee won at No. 3 with Tom Sertich and No. 4 with Will Luke.

“Drew and Jakson clawed their way to a title, and (Mason) and Ander have quietly been steady, too,” Saari said. “Erik Salminen stepped in at (No.) 4 doubles, too, and really responded well.”

The Fortner brothers, Daunte and Reece, downed Negaunee’s Peyton Anderson and Jacob Larson 6-3, 6-2 for the No. 2 doubles championship.

“I’m very proud of how my No. 1 and No. 2 doubles,” said VanDusen, noting Strong and Taff played up at No. 1 with Tyler Beauchamp in a basketball event.

The runner-up Wykons also had a first from No. 2 singles Neil Tomasoski.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee with contributions from the Iron Mountain Daily News. Brownlee’s email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.