CHESANING — Coach Dave Gasper and the Chesaning boys tennis team have advanced to the state tennis finals five straight years.
Gasper, now in his 20th season, believes his Indians have a good shot at making it six when Friday’s Division 4 boys tennis regional at Midland Tennis Center is over.
“We should be very close — it’s been very exciting the past couple of years,” Gasper said. “But Frankenmuth is a team we’ve got to worry about — we tied them 4-4 (earlier this season), and Essexville Garber, we’ve got to worry about them, we beat them in a close match, 5-3, and Nouvel, we beat them in a close match, 5-3. So everyone is evenly-matched and Hemlock is like a spoiler. They’ve got some good players in some flights and they could ruin it for everybody.”
Chesaning is 8-4-3 this fall. With only three schools who field boys tennis teams in the Mid-Michigan Activities Conference, there was no MMAC competition this season, but Chesaning won the Owosso Quad and placed second at the Bullock Creek Tournament.
Garber won the regional title last season with Chesaning placing second along with two other schools — Frankenmuth and Hemlock.
Chesaning’s Kyle Rolfe has a 12-4 record at No. 2 singles for Chesaning and will be competing for a regional title. He placed second at regionals last fall at No. 4 singles.
“This year we want to obviously try to win it,” Rolfe said. “We have a strong team this year and another goal is definitely to qualify for states.”
Gasper said that doubles will play a significant factor. The Indians have three doubles team who could be seeded No. 1.
“I’m relying on my doubles to carry me through the tournament,” Gasper said. “My No. 1 doubles should be a N0. 1 seed (Nolan Meder and Jack Skaryd), my No. 3 doubles should be a one seed (Evan List and Trent Lalone) and my No. 4 doubles should be a one seed (Andrew Woodcock and Spencer Tepatti). My No. 2 doubles team (Cody Brown and Levi Emmendorfer) should be a two seed.”
Rolfe said he hopes to win at least two matches — if not the whole thing.
“I want to win it all if possible,” he said. “This year I’ve improved my ground strokes a lot since last year and endurance as well.’”
Meder and Skaryd are also looking for good results.
“Last year, me and Jack struggled at regionals and that was our first year,” Meder said. “So this year, we’re hoping to come in hot and improve a lot from last year.”
BOYS REGIONAL TENNIS PREVIEW
Division 3 Regional 24
at Flint Kearsley
Local Teams: Owosso.
Favorite: No. 10-ranked Petoskey
Remaining Field: Bay City John Glenn, Clio, Kearsley, Goodrich, Mt. Pleasant, Brandon.
Outlook: Owosso finished 1-7 in the Flint Metro League. Petoskey should be the favorite to win the regional title.
Division 4 Regional 29
Local Teams: Corunna, Durand, Ovid-Elsie
Favorite: Flint Powers Catholic.
Remaining Field: Lake Odessa Lakewood, Lansing Catholic, Lansing Christian, Portland, Williamston.
Outlook: Corunna fared 1-7 in the Flint Metro League, while Ovid-Elsie was 0-9-1 entering the week. Flint Powers, the defending regional champion, is the favorite again.
Division 4 Regional 31
at Midland Tennis Center
Local Teams: Chesaning
Favorites: Chesaning, Frankenmuth, Garber
Remaining Field: Alma, Caro, Ithaca, Bullock Creek, Saginaw Nouvel, Hemlock
Outlook: Chesaning is vying for its sixth straight trip to the state finals and this tournament is pretty evenly matched between Chesaning, Frankenmuth and Garber being the likely frontrunners.