For the entire CAAC Blue boys tennis season, Okemos has been just ahead of East Lansing and Holt.
That continued to play out on Thursday, as the league held its conference meet at East Lansing High School.
The Chiefs took three of the four doubles championships and added two singles titles to prevail over their two closest conference challengers. The Trojans and the Rams tied for second.
“I’m really proud of the team. I think we worked really hard today. We’ve been working really hard for a while,” Okemos coach Chris Silker said. “We’ve just been working on communication and doubles strategy, and just working as a team and getting the points we need.”
The Chiefs won this season despite losing several players from their 2011 team, which finished fifth at the Division 2 state finals.
Herschel Ambekar and Ashton Hoffman won at No. 1 doubles, Ritwik Biswas and Steven Wu won at No. 2 and Ross Lazar and Kevin Hutsell won at No. 4 for the Chiefs.
Jordan Jacobsen and Nikhil Pasula were league champion at No. 2 and No. 4 singles, respectively.
Junior No. 1 singles player Elan Dantus reached the final in his flight for Okemos, but fell to Eric DeWitt of East Lansing in three sets after winning the first set.
“Every sport we have a rivalry. Tennis, they always beat us. We beat them my sophomore year but they’ve killed us every other time. This is my first one on Okemos in awhile and it just feels really good,” DeWitt said.
The pair faced one another for the first time of the season last week, but Dantus defaulted, leading to the winner-take-all match in the CAAC meet.
“It was a great feeling to know that I would get to go up to him again,” DeWitt said. “I lost the first set, it was close, but then I just kind of kept going, won the second set 7-5 and then I saw it and I went for it. … I was playing a little tentative and letting him take some big shots when I would kind of back off playing too defensive and he’d get it to the corners. He hits it really deep and he keeps it in, so I knew I would have to step it up and match that.”
The Rams finished off a strong league campaign, which featured yet another tie with East Lansing after the two played to a 4-4 draw during their regular-season match.
Holt has now finished second in the CAAC Blue two consecutive seasons.
“I took this job six years ago and we weren’t even in the discussion and even in that stratosphere. We finished behind Everett my first year and they don’t even have a program anymore,” Holt coach Russ Olcheske said. “We’re not that far removed from that and to be at (Okemos and East Lansing’s) level and competing with them, that means a lot. It means a lot to our guys and a lot to our program.”
“To a lot of people, it was a surprise that we’ve been good, but we knew all along that we could be successful, not only at my flight but as a team, too,” Jason Daman said after beating Mazen Oweiss of Okemos to secure the No. 3 singles title for the Rams. “I believe there’s no question or no doubt in my mind that we’re with East Lansing and Okemos now.”
MHSAA regionals for boys tennis begin on Oct. 11.