West Iron County, Marquette’s Alec Olivier repeat as Great Northern Conference boys tennis champs
KINGSFORD — The young West Iron County Wykons repeated as team champions and Marquette’s Alec Olivier remained unbeaten in the Great Northern Conference boys tennis tournament on Thursday.
The Wykons, with a lineup of 10 sophomores, chalked up 29 points to win the seven-team tournament. Runner-up Marquette had 20, followed by tournament host Kingsford 11, Escanaba 8, Munising 7 and Menominee 5 as Gladstone did not score.
“Going in we set ourselves up well with regular-season play in the seeds that we got,” WIC coach Joe Serbentas said after his Wykons earned four No. 1 seeds. “For the most part, the guys performed and did what they were supposed to, according to the seeding.”
The Wykons reached the finals of every flight except No. 1 doubles. They took singles and doubles titles at every flight from Nos. 2 through 4.
Sophomore Holden Ross threatened to stun Olivier at No. 1 singles, winning the first set 7-5 before bowing 6-1, 6-4 in the next two. Serbentas believes that was only the second set that Olivier has lost in his Upper Peninsula high school career.
“Holden gave him a heck of a battle,” Serbentas said. “He came out on fire in the first set. That was a real good brand of tennis to see. It’s high-level stuff. Both guys went at each other.”
Serbentas said one of Ross’ goals was to at least take a set from Olivier.
“I’m proud of Holden because one of his goals was to compete with Alec this year knowing what kind of player he is,” Serbentas said. “Holden has a lot of respect for him.”
WIC took No. 2, 3 and 4 singles with senior James Swanson, Mick Ballinger and Alex Wickstrom, respectively. Marquette’s Nick Olivier and Kevin Zhang along with Escanaba’s Shaun Beauchamp garnered runner-up honors.
In the lone flight not involving WIC, Tyler Beauchamp and Reece Fortner of Kingsford captured No. 1 doubles by rallying past Munising’s Landon Peters and Eli Werner in three sets.
West Iron’s Nolan Anderson and Lucas Isaacson downed Munising’s Ross Holloway and Guillermo Sese for No. 2 doubles honors. The Wykons beat Marquette in the next two flights, with Drew Hebert and Logan Horton over Beau Belkowski and Robert Apple at No. 3 and Cole Alexa and Lucas Shovald over Jack Franchino and Casey Yeadon at No. 4.
“Any time you can do that at these multiteam tournaments, it’s a big deal,” Serbentas said of his Wykons playing in seven finals. “You have the team depth you need to win a championship.
“But you have to finish at the end and it came down to us and Marquette, and Marquette has a nice team. They’re well coached with Charlie (Drury). They’re tough. The Oliviers are great players.
“But it was a day we knew we had set up for ourselves with the seeds and if everybody did what they could do, we had a feeling we would be OK.”
Marquette and Munising complete their seasons Wednesday at the MHSAA U.P. finals. The Redmen play in Division 1 back again in Kingsford, while the Mustangs will be part of the Division 2 action at Westwood.