BOYS TENNIS: Hodags repeat as GNC champions
RHS also tops conference meet
STAR JOURNAL REPORT
For the fourth year in a row, the Rhinelander High School boys tennis team has won the Great Northern Conference title.
The Hodags wrapped up this year’s conference championship Saturday when they topped the GNC meet they hosted with 38 points after recording five first-place and two second-place finishes in match play. Coupled with the 102 points they picked up for winning 51 matches in the eight conference dual meets, the Hodags ended up with 140 points for first in the five-team field, 23 points ahead of runner-up Antigo, which earned 29 points in the GNC meet and 88 points in dual meets.
Medford ended up third in the conference standings with 69 points, followed by Lakeland (57) and Phillips (2).
“And we went 5-2 against Antigo on the day – the second-place team,” said RHS head coach Bob Heideman. “In general, we hit well, so much improvement.”
The Hodags topped three of the four singles brackets with Markus Johnson (No. 2), Matt O’Melia (No. 3) and Russell Benoy (No. 4) along with finishing first in two of the three doubles brackets with Jared Haug and Connor Young (No. 2) and Marshall Bessette and Logan Oestreich (No. 3) all winning both of their matches.
“Markus is picking his spots to hit with some power,” Heideman said. “Matt absorbs the other guy’s power so well and returns it consistently. Russell’s volleys were producing winners which didn’t happen just two weeks ago…. No. 2 doubles (won in straight sets against Antigo’s No. 2 team,) which took our No. 1 team to three sets earlier this year. Logan Oestreich is getting so many more balls back and Marshall has turned into a leader on the team.”
RHS’s Logan Wild ended up losing the No. 1 singles championship match in three sets to Antigo’s Tyler Husnick, while the Hodags’ No. 1 doubles team of Jared Fabich and Grant Gilbert dropped their championship match in straight sets to Antigo’s Drew Schwarz and Ben Bartletti.
“The heartbreaker was Logan Wild’s championship match,” Heideman said. “A long three-setter where he came as close as you can to winning it. It’s a tough, tough loss, but hopefully the sting will wear off and he will lead the team down the stretch with some inspired play.”
RHS hosts an invitational Thursday with Ashland, Shawano and Newman Catholic before beginning postseason play May 22 when it hosts the WIAA Division 2 Sub-Sectional.