It is rare that a Conference has 3 teams ranked in the Top 5 in the State, but that’s precisely the case for the 2nd year in a row in the OK-Gold. East Grand Rapids (#3), Forest Hills Eastern (#4), and the Eagles (#5) headed into the tournament with EGR ranked in first place followed by FHE and GRC tied for 2nd due to their regular season tie.
The Eagles played with a chip on their shoulder because of the tie and the rankings, and came away with a 2nd place finish ahead of Eastern and within in a 2 match difference of claiming the Conference tournament from the Pioneers.
On the day, the Singles led the way with Senior Co-Captain Tyler Stafford at #2, Senior Co-Captain Marcus Haveman at #3, and Sophomore Alex Lowell at #4 all claiming both regular season and Conference tournament Championships. Stafford concluded his Senior Conference campaign by defeating FHE handily, albeit in the 3 sets, 6-2 and 6-1 with a lunch break for the second set losing 7-5. Haveman is playing his best tennis of the year and dropped 3 games during the entire tournament over two matches, crushing EGR in the finals 6-2, 6-1. Lowell also had to fight through a third set, winning 6-3 in the 3rd. Stafford and Haveman have had simply ridiculous seasons, with current records of 23-2 for Stafford and 22-3 for Haveman. Not to be outdone, Freshman #1 Simon Volkema more than pulled his weight, avenging a close loss to FHE with a dominating 6-0, 6-4 performance, earning the Eagles 6 points.
The Doubles definitely carried their weight, but found the going tough against FHE and EGR. Seniors Caleb Betten/Josh Jacobsen, Senior Jack Zwiers/Sophomore Grant Moorhead, Senior James VanHekken/Sophomore Tanner Warners, and Senior Sawyer Masselink/Junior Eli Kuiper at #1-4 Doubles all finished third. Zwiers/Moorhead came close, losing a tough 3 setter to FHE. Each doubles flight earned 5 points for the Eagles, and every point was essential to the finish. It was a total team effort.
More important than winning, the Eagles carried themselves with class in the midst of some heated competition. They represented their school while playing and acting with integrity. The Eagles cemented themselves ahead of FHE and close behind EGR heading into Regionals this Thursday hosted at the Zandee Tennis Center.
Regionals run all day, before, during and after school, come out and support the Eagles!