Ethan Yu was confident he would achieve the desired result Wednesday at Quann Park.
But the Madison West sophomore still was stoked after winning the No. 1 singles title over Monona Grove junior Chase Lindwall at the WIAA Division 1 Madison Memorial boys tennis sectional and advancing to next week’s individual state tournament for the first time.
“It’s almost like you did something you thought you were going to do,” Yu said, “but you are still happy you did it because you knew you could have (blown) it. … So, I’m very happy.”
Also pumped were Memorial coach Joe King and his team after the Spartans edged Madison West and qualified for the WIAA team tournament June 25-26 for the first time since 1999.
“It was exciting to see the guys come out and play well today, and take care of business in the first round and make sure that the team did well in advancing to team state,” said King, who’s been head coach for nine years. “I’ve been the assistant coach or the head coach for 20 years or so, and we have never advanced to the boys team state in that time. So, it’s great to make that happen this year, especially for the guys that missed their season last year (due to the COVID-19 pandemic) and then were able to come back this season.”
Madison Memorial sophomore Juan Gallego won the No. 2 singles title and the accompanying automatic individual state berth and sophomore Sam Weinbach claimed the No. 4 singles crown in leading the Spartans to the team championship with 44 points. That was two points better than runner-up West, which won three flights.
“We were pretty sure it was coming down to a dogfight between us and Madison West,” King said.
“Our dual with them earlier in the season was extremely close. We managed to squeak by 4-3 and there were two match tiebreakers involved in that one that were crucial.”
The Spartans qualified players in all seven flights during subsectionals, then won opening matches in every flight Wednesday.
King said the team’s success was surprising after the coaching staff hadn’t seen the players for 15-16 months.
“You really didn’t know what the season was going to be like,” King said. “So, it’s extremely gratifying that they were able to come together as a team and the depth that we ended up with was very much a surprise.”
He added: “It was definitely a big push by the entire team to send out these seniors the right way, and they deserve a lot of celebration for what they have been able to accomplish this season.”
Yu (16-3) won three matches, including topping Lindwall 6-1, 6-2 in the No. 1 singles final.
Yu showed off an array of shots — including forehands that he drove, chipped and put top spin on — and he demonstrated outstanding court coverage.
“I love the way he moves around the court,” West coach John Braxler said. “It’s great to have an athlete playing tennis.”
Sun Prairie earned state berths at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles.
Sun Prairie junior Jacob Baldwin and freshman Nikko Vilwock claimed the No. 1 doubles title, defeating the Memorial team of senior Spencer Frey and junior Sanjay Mathur 7-6 (2), 6-2 in a final featuring crisp net play and extended rallies.
“It was a great battle in the first set,” Baldwin said. “In the second set, we just really came out strong. Nikko and I were working together really well. It was awesome to see that. We put a lot of great returns in play and got to the net (in the second set). That was really working for us.”
Baldwin, who had been the Cardinals’ No. 1 singles player, and Vilwock, who’d been at No. 2 singles, improved to 8-0 since being paired as a doubles team late in the season.
“We clicked really well,” Baldwin said.
Sun Prairie senior Erik Spence and junior Kyle Helmenstine, the Cardinals’ No. 1 doubles team much of the season, won the No. 2 doubles title and earned an automatic state berth.
Sun Prairie coach Ryan Reischel said after it became apparent during the season that the Cardinals weren’t going to challenge for a team state berth he met with the four players and it was decided Baldwin and Vilwock would move to doubles.
“Both teams play super-smart tennis, put a lot of balls in play, put a lot of first serves in, and return,” Reischel said. “We love coming to the net. We play old-school doubles, and it works.”
The top four finishers at No. 1 singles and No. 2 doubles qualified for state.
The other singles state qualifiers were Madison La Follette senior Tyger Yang, who finished third, and Memorial freshman Gokul Kamath.
The other doubles state qualifiers were Monona Grove seniors Lance Nelson and Henry Walsh, who placed third, and West senior Joey Hermann and freshman Joey Kaji.
West senior ThomasEthan Kaji was the No. 3 singles champion and Regents junior Ben Alban and freshman Sean Walsh combined to win the No. 3 doubles title.
East Troy sectional
For only the second time since 2004, Madison Edgewood will miss the WIAA state team tournament.
For the second straight time (the other was in 2019), the Crusaders lost out to Waukesha Catholic Memorial in the Division 2 sectional.
Catholic Memorial scored 51 points. Edgewood was second with 40.
Edgewood senior Alex Sviatoslavsky, the individual state runner-up in 2019, defeated East Troy’s Dayne Lindow in the No. 1 singles final 6-1, 6-2 to improve to 22-0 and qualify for Division 2 state.
Edgewood’s No. 1 doubles team of Sam Katerov and Austin Buchner (13-9) advanced with a third-place finish.
They defeated Viroqua’s Eric Jerdee and Ben Gillen 3-6, 6-1, 7-5, for third after falling to eventual champs Chase Korb and Nate Carson of Catholic Memorial in a semifinal, 6-3, 6-1.
Monroe’s Charlie Frehner and Aaron Roidt (9-6) finished second at No. 1 doubles and advanced to state. Watertown Luther Prep’s Judd Guse (9-13) made state with a fourth-place finish at No. 1 singles.