After sending nine of their top ten players to sectionals from the subsectional, the Raider boys' tennis team advanced four of those nine to this weekend's WIAA State Tournament in Madison.
While Hudson had no sectional champions last Wednesday, May 22, in Wisconsin Rapids, they earned four second place finishes, one third place and one fourth place to capture the sectional runner-up trophy for the second straight season.
Head coach John Knutson said it was a long day, starting with a five-hour weather delay. After squeezing in a total of 38 matches before nightfall and grabbing a quick dinner, the team didn't arrive back in Hudson until after midnight.
"And even that was eventful as one of our player's parents were hit by a deer between Neilsville and Fairchild, totaling their car and we had to stop and pick them up to offer a ride home with us," Knutson noted.
Tyler Grosz posted a 6-0, 6-1 win in his opening match at No. 1 singles to punch his ticket to state, then beat Ethan Wurtzell of Menomonie, 6-2, 6-3 before losing the title match to Sam Rechek of Eau Claire Memorial, 6-3, 6-3. Grosz, who had beaten Rechek twice during the regular season, earned a No. 12 seed in this weekend's state tournament.
Hudson's No. 1 doubles team of Jack Geurkink and Luke Johnson also needed just a first-round win to get to state and accomplished that with a quick 6-1, 6-1 victory over their opponents from Onalaska. They dropped their next two matches, 6-2, 6-1, to Eau Claire Memorial and 7-6(5), 1-6, 6-3 to Menomonie to finish fourth at No. 1 doubles but will still compete at state.
Sophomore Jacob Grosz will be joining his older brother in state singles play after earning one of the "special qualifier" bids. He won is first sectional match 6-1, 6-1 before losing to Mark Pepperl of Eau Claire Memorial, 6-1, 6-3, to place second at No. 2 singles.
Kade Nickerson contributed a second place finish at No. 3 singles and Isaac Henneman and Charlie Neuenschwander were second at No. 3 doubles, while Brett Covey and Mitchell Drost, finished third at No. 2 doubles.
The WIAA State Tournament is this Thursday through Saturday at Nielsen Tennis Stadium on the campus of UW-Madison. Tyler Grosz takes a record of 23-3 into state tournament play and will face Grant Counts of Oshkosh West (20-9) in his first round match while Jacob Grosz (27-2) will face Calvin Moore of Hamilton (17-6). Guerkink and Johnson (9-3) will play Jared Collucci and Calvin Battle of West DePere (16-10) in their opening doubles match.
Knutson said the Raiders accomplished a lot this year, but they're not done yet.
"With four of our top ten players advancing to the state tournament in Madison we want to see if we can get our two singles players and one doubles team deep into the tournament," he said.