Seniors honored at last meet

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April 29, 2015 By Ryan Altman

Sunday was a special day for two members of the UW-Whitewater men’s tennis team.

Departing seniors Cam Laktash and Ben Shklyar were recognized for their athletic contributions as part of the team’s Senior Day during the Warhawks’ weekend triumphs over No. 36 Coe College and Elmhurst College at Wangerin Courts.

Although Laktash and Shklyar are not graduating, the two duals marked the end of their regular season collegiate tennis careers.

“[Ben] brought a talented level, brought some really good doubles skills and helped the team reach the next level,” head coach Frank Barnes said. “Cam is one of those hard workers and does everything the right way. He started on the bench, worked his way into the lineup with hard work and dedication, so really two kind of opposite things, but things that we look for.”

Laktash and Shklyar were instrumental in the ’Hawks’ 7-2 victory over Coe.

At No. 2 doubles, Laktash and partner, junior Jake Humphreys, knocked off Coe’s top singles player, Noah Sprinkel, and Ryan Hickman, 8-4.

He also went on to win at No. 6 singles, 6-4, 6-0, over the Kohawks’ Chad Moklestad.

Laktash believed his doubles win set the tone for the rest of the day.

“Coe’s always good,” Laktash said. “They’ve got really good doubles and to get that doubles lead right off the bat it’s just a good momentum shift into singles and makes people play looser and play with a little more ease.”

Shklyar and junior Michael Treis, the Central Region’s No. 1-ranked doubles team according to itatennis.com, broke a potential match-ending service game, rallying from a 7-5 deficit to defeat the region’s sixth-ranked doubles pair of Riley Galbraith and Brady Anderson 9-7.

“That match was huge for us in the sense that if we won, we pretty much had it in the bag that we were going to make the individual NCAAs,” Shklyar said. “We just told ourselves ‘listen, this is probably my last regular season match before going to the postseason, we might as well let it all out on the line and just give it all we got.”’

Treis, sophomore Rithwik Raman (No. 3) and freshman Zane Navratil (No. 4) also notched singles wins for the ’Hawks (21-7).

Raman and junior captain Michael Schnarr were victorious at No. 3 doubles, 8-2.

Barnes used the second match against Elmhurst as an opportunity to play some of his younger players including freshman Matt Zurowski, sophomores Martin Beck and Scott Butler, and junior Matt Bisbee.

All four tallied wins for the ’Hawks in the team’s 8-1 triumph over the Bluejays.

Bisbee and Zurowski won at No. 5 and 6 singles respectively, while Beck and Butler earned an 8-4 victory at No. 3 doubles.

Barnes said he wants them to gain more match experience, as the team will likely rely on these players to fill the lineup gaps left by Laktash and Shklyar.

Shklyar was not in the lineup, but Laktash was, going 1-1 with a win at No. 1 doubles with Humphreys. He finished the day with a 3-1 record overall.

For both players, ending their regular season careers with a pair of wins is just one part of what being a member of the ’Hawks tennis team means to them.

“Honestly, I think looking back at everything like at the last four years, just how everything has gone, just proves that I made the right choice,” Laktash said. “I couldn’t be happier with the coaches, assistant coaches, and all the teammates.”

“It’s been an honor. It’s probably the best decision I’ve made in my life so far and it’s been a great three years,” Shkylar said. “I’ve had lot of accomplishments here that I don’t think I would have been able to have at any other school, so in that sense it’s been great.”

The ’Hawks have a full week of practice before May 4, when it discovers its opponent for the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament.

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