For a short time Friday afternoon, the biggest and loudest cheers for Marshfield’s Tanner Hayes and Zach Ott were coming from an unlikely source.
The members of the Stevens Point Area Senior High boys tennis team celebrated every point the Tigers’ tandem earned against Wausau East’s Brady Becker and Jake Klug in their eventual 6-4, 5-7, 11-9 win in the No. 2 doubles championship match at the Wisconsin Valley Conference meet. Hayes and Ott rallied from a 6-2 deficit in the tiebreaker
“It was definitely a first. I’ve never seen SPASH cheer for us before,” said Hayes.
That result, coupled with SPASH’s Connor Cook and M.J. DeBot finishing third at No. 2 singles, allowed the Panthers to edge the Lumberjacks by one point for the conference title. SPASH entered the day with a six-point lead after the conference dual season, and finished with 84 points overall.
East won the WVC meet by five points over Marshfield, getting titles from Conrad Felten at No. 1 singles, and Garrett Richetto and Dakota Osborn at No. 3 doubles. The Lumberjacks also reached championship matches at four other flights — No. 2 and No. 4 singles, and No. 1 and No. 2 doubles.
“Our guys played outstanding today, so it was a lot of fun to watch today as a coach,” Wausau East coach Trevor Knight said. “You just hope you have a chance at the end, but six points is a lot to overcome in a tournament like this where the top team will score 32 or 33 points. I couldn’t have asked for more, our guys played awesome today.
“We’ve won 10 duals in a row, and we took first in this tournament against maybe a couple of the top teams in our subsectional,” Knight added. “I feel good about this team.”
Hayes and Ott were one of three champions for Marshfield, as the Tigers finished second in the conference meet and third overall.
“They all knew they had to fight tough in that first match today, and unfortunately some just couldn’t win it,” Marshfield coach Tom Duncan said. “Our goal was to have everybody finish third or better and we were able to reach that.”
Felten beat Brady Luetschwager in straight sets, after falling to the conference’s top-seed in the dual season.
“I really have nothing to lose right now, it’s senior year,” Felten said. “I just came out here and played one of the best matches I’ve ever played.”
Wausau West’s No. 1 doubles team of Josh Zahl and Adam Wass won the title, as they defeated East’s Justin Strom and Gunther Reising in straight sets. Zahl and Wass are in their first season as a doubles team and posted a 4-1 mark in the dual season and entered as the top seed for the meet.
“We always stayed focused and tried our best the whole (season),” the senior Wass said. “We didn’t ever give up or think that we couldn’t win.”