Still striking gold this spring

Negaunee’s Chas Kumpula returns the ball during a singles match against Escanaba Thursday afternoon, May 10, 2018, at Negaunee High School. (Journal photo by Corey Kelly)

NEGAUNEE – It was a breezy 45 degree day forcing athletes and spectators alike to bundle up, but that didn’t stop the Negaunee High School boys tennis team from earning an 8-0 sweep of Escanaba on Thursday afternoon at the Negaunee Tennis Complex.

The Miners are now 8-0-1 on the season, with the lone tie coming at the hands of the Eskymos on on April 26.

NHS head coach Kyle Saari said yesterday’s meet was an important one as far as seeding goes for postseason play.

“This was a meet that we looked forward to,” he said. “We had a close match with them down in Esky and we knew that we needed to flip some matches for U.P. seeding purposes and we also needed to defend some of our own too.

“We’re still not playing our best tennis yet but I think this is as close to perfect as we have played this year. From top to bottom, one singles to four doubles, we’re definitely proud of the guys.”

Luke Skewis, Chas Kumpula, Thomas Sertich and Will Luke all earned singles wins for the Miners. Skewis defeated the Eskymos’ Christer Carne in two sets, 6-3, 6-4 in No. 1 singles. The No. 2 slot saw Kumpula top Esky’s Josh Grassel in three sets 6-2, 0-6, 6-4.

Sertich beat Nathan Pascoe in No. 3 6-1, 6-0 while Luke defeated Cody Stevens 6-3, 6-0 in No. 4.

Saari praised a pair of his underclassmen as well, Kumpula (sophomore) and Luke (freshman).

“Kumpula in the third set, he really focused in and he kind of had a plan going into that third and executed it perfectly,” he said. “Will Luke as well, he’s growing into that spot perfectly as a freshman and we’re pleased with him too.”

In No. 1 doubles, the team of Negaunee’s Jakson Sager and Drew Lindberg accomplished something they haven’t been able to do for two years, and that was defeating Esky’s Adam Claes and Brandon Kangas, which they did in three sets 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.

Saari said while there were several standout performances from the meet, that one stuck out to him the most.

“Jakson and Drew, they’ve played that same team from Esky for two years now,” he said. “This is the first time they broke through and beat them. It just attributes to them being two good athletes and they were mentally tough enough to close out a match (today).”

No. 2 doubles was also a three-setter, with Negaunee’s Peyton Anderson and Jake Larson defeating Alex Valentine and Soren Thompson 6-3, 4-6, 6-5.

Ander Sorenson and Mason Hemmila toppled Charlie Wilson and Colton Hayes 6-2, 7-6 (0) in No. 3 doubles while in the No. 4 slot, Evan Hassell and Erik Salminen defeated Garrett LaMarche and Tom Mayville 6-1, 6-3.

Negaunee travels to Kingsford for the Kingsford Invitational on Saturday.

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