By Travis Smola
It was a bittersweet ending to tennis season for the Vicksburg boys this year as the team came within seven points of going to the state tournament. The team finished fifth in the conference.
In the end, it was the lone senior, Connor Seifert, who was the last Bulldog standing at the Conference meet in Three Rivers.
Seifert ended his tennis career on a high note by becoming regional champion in the number two singles in a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Sturgis. He defeated players from Three Rivers 6-1, 6-0 and Harper Creek 6-1, 6-3 to get to the final round. “I love my team,” Seifert said after the victory. “I couldn’t do it if they weren’t watching.”
In addition to the regional championship, he ends his tennis career with a 26-8 record, winning conference and earning first team all-conference honors.
“He’s one of the toughest guys I’ve had in a long time,” Head Coach Warner Offord said. “I’m proud of him.”
Unfortunately, after a pretty successful regular season, the Bulldogs again had trouble once they reached the regional meet. Sophomore Ayden Flickinger had a first round bye and made it to the semi-final in the number one singles with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Marshall. But he lost to Stevensville Lakeshore in the semi-final. He placed third in the conference meet the week prior.
Junior Corbin Wallace also had a first round bye in number three singles and got to the semi-final after beating a Niles player 6-0, 6-0. But he lost in the semi-final to Harper Creek.
David Rutt won his first-round match against Marshall 6-2, 6-2, but the junior fell to Stevensville Lakeshore in the next round.
In doubles action, the number four doubles team of junior Jacob Henderson and freshman Andrew Reno had the best showing. After a first round bye, they had a long and grueling match against Marshall that they eventually won 6-4, 7-6, 11-9.
Unfortunately, they lost in the next round to Harper Creek. The team did win runner-up in the conference meet however.
The number three doubles team of junior Erik Beal and sophomore Kevin Veld also had a first round bye. But they came up against a tough Coldwater team in the next round that won 7-5, 4-6, 6-2.
It was a similar story for the number two team of juniors Sam Gearig and Casey Hall and number one competitors junior Jonathan Perkins and freshman Edgar Kim. Both teams didn’t have first-round competition, but fell in their first match. They took fourth in the conference meet.
The good news for the Bulldogs is the younger players got a wealth of experience this year. Offord is hopeful they will be able to use it to build for next year.