Tennis competes at ITA Midwest Regional Championship

Ben Lokken, Staff Writer

The UW-Whitewater men’s tennis team had their last competition until 2018 on Sept. 29-30, when the team traveled to Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota for the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Midwest Regional Championships.

“This was a really good competition,” head coach Frank Barnes said. “This was a deeper draw than I’ve seen in the past.”

The Warhawks had a few team members who made it a few rounds into the 128-man draw singles tournament.  Senior Zane Navratil led the Warhawks by winning three straight matches to advance into the round of 16, before being eliminated by ninth seeded Serhii Tykonenko of St. Scholastica by a scores of 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.

The Warhawks also had three other team members who made it to the round of 32.  Junior Branden Dechter won his first two matches before being ousted by 16th seeded Yassine Derbani of Gustavus Adolphus by scores of 6-1, 6-2.

Junior Jimmy Engelhart and senior Grant Thompson also won their first two matches to advance to the round of 32 before falling to 15th seeded Tommy Entwistle of Gustavus Adolphus and 17th seeded Hunter Fernelius of Bethel.

“We had our sights set high,” Barnes said. “We always want to end up in the finals.”

Sophomore Zach Wood split his first two matches before winning his next four matches in the consolation bracket, including an 8-6 victory over Hayden Dzurisin of Cornell in the quarterfinals to advance to the semifinals of the consolation bracket.

In the semifinals of the consolation bracket Wood lost to David Youngs of Concordia Moorhead by a score of 8-6.   

“I feel like we were a little bummed out that we didn’t get anyone through the draw till Sunday,” senior Matt Zurowski said.  “But we also know that the competition was really tough and we got a lot better from playing the people we did.”

In the doubles draw the team of Dechter and Zurowski advanced to the round of 16 as the ninth seeded team. They would fall to the top seeded Gustavus Adolphus team of Mohanad Alhouni/Patrick Whaling by a score of 8-2.

The doubles team of sophomore Matthew Primozic and freshmen Robert Rider advanced to the quarterfinals of the consolation bracket before losing by a score of 8-4 to the team of Matt Lindsay/Didreitch of UW-La Crosse.

The Warhawk teams of Navrital/Engelhart and Primozic and junior Brett Conard both made it to the round of 32 in the doubles draw before losing to Michael O’Neil/Xavier Sanga of Gustavus Adolphus by a score of 8-6 and Andrew Qi/Sahil Chhugani of Carlton by a score of 8-5 respectively.

“I feel like we learned that we are going to have to put a lot of work into this off-season to get to the level we want to get to by spring,” Zurowski said. “And I firmly believe we can get there.”

The Warhawks will not return to action until they face Northern Illinois on January 25 in Rockford, Illinois.