Roncalli senior Lucas Waak made good on his coach Bob Nelson’s promise to send the Jets to the medal stand for the fifth-consecutive season, finishing second at the WIAA State Tournament in Division 2 singles on Saturday.
In those five seasons, five different players have medaled.
Waak (30-3), the No. 2 seed, began his day by defeating Brookfield Acadamy’s Chris Conley in the semifinals, rallying to win 1-6, 6-1, 6-1.
“It was an adjustment playing so early (9 a.m.),” said Waak. “It was almost like I was playing that first set half asleep. Luckily, I loosened up in the second and third (sets) and started playing my kind of tennis.”
Nelson had similar thoughts on the semifinal.
“Lucas seemed almost nervous to start, but the other player (Conley) seemed to get a little over confident,” said Nelson. “In those second and third sets Lucas battled back and really whipped him around.”
That win set up a D2 final against Zane Navratil of The Prairie School. Waak battled in the first set, bringing it to a tiebreaker before falling 7-6 (1), 6-2. Navratil, who improved his seed by beating the higher ranked Waak, was seeded fourth entering the tournament.
Afterward, Waak shared his thoughts on the championship match.
“If I could go back and do it all again I’d try to make him move around a little more, but I simply got out played,” Waak said.
In reflecting on his career as a Jet, including being No. 1 singles the last three seasons, Lucas had no regrets.
“It was a great journey,” said Waak. “I learned a lot and it’s sort of sad to see it end but I’ll have taken away a once in a lifetime experience.”
By finishing second, Waak also earned All-State Division 2 honors.
Manitowoc Lincoln senior Tommy Arnette and sophomore David Wronkowski, seeded in the No.9-16 range entering Thursday, finished 7th/8th after losing to David Winston and Jon Lopez of Nicolet in their first match of the day 6-3, 6-2.
The losers of the quarterfinals do not play a match to determine seventh and eighth place.
Arnette and Wronkowski (14-4) were originally predicted to go no further than the round of 16, but reached the quarterfinals and finished the day with All-State Division 1 honors.
“Today was the first time in a while that Lincoln has had anyone, doubles or singles, play into Saturday,” said Lincoln coach Bob Feller. “Tommy and David played great all season, anytime they lost nothing was given. They made the other team work for every victory.”
In fact, all four of the doubles teams losses were to teams which finished sixth or higher at State.
“I said before this tournament started just sending a pair of doubles teams (Arnette-Wronkowski, and juniors Jake Rohrer and Nick Schroeder) and one singles player (Jordan Verbauwhede) to State was the icing on the cake,” added Feller. “What Tommy and David did was spread the icing out, making it that much sweeter.”