Local tennis players are preparing for the boys’ state tournament in Chicago starting Thursday.
All four area teams participated in the Centralia section on Saturday. St. Anthony won the section with 20 points; Mascoutah finished second with 19 points; Newton finished third with 15 points, and Effingham and Teutopolis tied for fourth with 14 points. The Bulldogs’ victory was the first section title since 2012.
“Winning this section; when we got our seeds, it was like, ‘OK, if we hold our seeds, we should win the section,'” head coach Darlene Esker said. “It played out until the last game, it was so close.”
Below is how each individual and team arrived at the state tournament and their thoughts.
Dillow will represent Effingham at the state tournament.
The junior won the Centralia Division singles championship with a perfect 4-0 record.
Dillow beat Mattoon’s Mick Porter (6-0, 6-0) in the first round; Nathan Gettinger of Mascoutah (6-1, 6-0) in the second round; Newton’s Ben Street (6-3, 6-0) in the third round and St. Anthony’s Manaye Mossman in the championship game.
“Saturday was a really great experience,” Dillow said. “I applied constant pressure on my opponents; it was a great change for me from where I’ve played at the level of my season. My confidence, I think, has been my biggest key. “
Dillow drew Champaign Centennial’s Lino Jo in the first round. This competition is at the Schaumburg high school.
Mossman will represent St. Anthony at the state tournament.
The freshman took second place in the Centralia section, with a 3-1 record.
Mossman beat Will Pullen of Mattoon (6-1, 6-0) in the first round; Blayne Pals of Effingham (6-0, 6-1) in the second round, and Wyatt Jurgensmeyer of Mascoutah (6-4, 6-0) in the third round, before losing to Dillow (3-6, 6-3, 1- 0) in the league game.
Mossman was unable to complete his championship contest due to cramps, forcing him to retire after the first point of the third set.
“I felt like maybe I could have finished, but towards the end, every time it started to hurt and stuff, I was pushing myself, but I couldn’t finish it the way I wanted” , Mossman said.
Mossman drew Rock Island Alleman’s Nicholas Patrick in the first round. This competition is at Wheeling High School.
Street will represent Newton at the state tournament.
The junior finished third in the Centralia Division, with a 3-1 record.
Street beat Carter Davidson of Teutopolis (6-0, 6-0) in the first round and Mossman in the second before losing to Dillow. He then beat Jurgensmeyer in the fourth round, 4-2, before Jurgensmeyer retired after the set.
“I knew I had a good shot at qualifying for state, becoming the No. 3 seed,” Street said. “My first two games were the ones that would qualify me for state, and I got through them pretty easy. Then in my third game, I met Dillow, and we had been playing tight, and he finished by fighting.”
Street drew Chicago Wheaton Academy’s Jeffrey Master in the first round. This competition is at the Schaumburg high school.
AIDEN TEGELER AND HENRY KEMME
Tegeler and Kemme will represent St. Anthony in doubles at the state tournament.
The duo took second place in the Centralia Division, with a 3-1 record.
They defeated Easton and Donaldson of Mattoon (6-1, 1-6, 6-2) in the first round, Milburn and Martin of Centralia (6-0, 6-3) in the second round, and Beck and Norrenberns of Mascoutah ( 7-6(5), 2-6, 6-3) in the third round before losing to Zala and Bahney de Mattoon (4-6, 2-6) in the championship.
Asked about getting into the state, Kemme said: “Going to the state means a lot. We’ve been working all year trying to get to the state. Last year we did , and it didn’t go the way we wanted it to, so hopefully we can come back and give it our all this year.”
Tegeler added: “I want to get out of the first round. We got out of the first round last time, but I want to get out of both of them and the next day. I think that would be a huge accomplishment.”
Tegeler and Kemme drew Vernon Hills’ Anthony Pomeranets and Daniel Shcebalev in the first round. This competition is at Palestine High School.
KOLTEN TABBERT AND ETHAN THOELE
Tabbert and Thoele will represent Teutopolis in doubles at the state tournament.
The duo took fourth place in the Centralia Division, with a 2-2 record.
They beat Homer and Knedel from Mascoutah (6-2, 6-1) in the first round and Romito and Weber from Newton (6-1, 7-5) in the second round before losing to Zala and Bahney from Mattoon (3- 6, 2-6) in the third round, and Beck and Norrenberns of Mascoutah (6-3, 0-6, 3-6) in the fourth round.
Asked about their performance at Centralia, Tabbert said, “It was windy so it was a hindrance, but I think we played through it.”
Thoele added: “Our second game, we were down 5-2, and came back to win 7-5, and it went pretty well afterwards.”
Tabbert and Thoele drew Dylan Costello and Alex Sebastian from Tinley Park in the first round. This contest is at Rolling Meadows High School.