Sturgis’ boys tennis team came home from the weekend’s Division 3 state finals in Kalamazoo with heads held high after tying Coldwater for 7th place overall. The Trojans made it to the quarterfinals in four flights and the semifinals at No. 2 singles.
Fifth-seeded senior Nick Rehm ran into top-seeded Noah Karoub of Detroit Country Day and lost 6-0, 6-1 in a match that featured a lot of close games.
“He did very well,” Sturgis coach George Earl said. “The [opponent] was very tough; he really didn’t miss. It was frustrating for Nick because he just couldn’t penetrate much. He had some good shots here and there.”
“I thought I played well, even for being pretty nervous,” Rehm added. “He just didn’t give me much at all.”
Eric Bartley lost to DeWitt’s Sam Schuster, 6-2, 6-4, in the second round at No. 1 singles. Rehm collected victories over Landon Voigt (Mt. Pleasant), 6-2, 6-1, and Holland Christian’s Danny Kroeze, 6-4, 7-6(5) to reach the semis.
“Eric was close to winning, but the kid was just a little too strong and a couple shots ahead of him,” Earl said. “That was a little bit of a bummer. We had hoped to win that one.”
At third singles, Avery Peterson won his second-round match against DeWitt’s Tristen Fox, 7-6(6), 6-4, before falling in the quarterfinals to East Grand Rapids’ Sam Forstner, 6-1, 6-0. Seth Miller (No. 4 singles) defeated Cadillac’s Ty Pugh 6-2, 6-0 and lost to Trent Kayne (Cranbrook-Kingswood) 6-2, 6-2 in the quarterfinals.
East Grand Rapids knocked the Trojans’ first doubles squad of Chad VanDosen and Kris Ransberger out in the second round, 6-1, 7-5. At second doubles, Andrew Airgood and Nate Sisson earned a first-round win over Haslett, 6-3, 7-5 and fell in their next match to East Grand Rapids, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2.
Spring Lake defeated Sturgis’ No. 3 doubles team of Ben Sisson and Nick Foley in the second round, 6-2, 6-2. Caleb Northrop and Matt Polzin beat Chelsea 6-3, 6-3 before being bumped from the No. 4 doubles bracket in the quarterfinals in a 6-0, 6-0 loss to Cranbrook-Kingswood.
Detroit Country Day won the team title with 39 points. Sturgis finished with 11.
“Third doubles had an opportunity to beat Spring Lake,” Earl said. “They had lost in a third-set tiebreak earlier in the year and lost to them again. We were kind of hoping for that one. Second doubles split with East Grand Rapids, which was a top-seeded team. First doubles almost got a set off of East Grand Rapids. Both of those were matches that we didn’t make much of a dent in earlier in the year, so it was good to get a lot more improved.
“It was a good showing. We tied for seventh unfortunately with Coldwater. That’s the way the old cookie crumbles as far as the draws go. We were all shedding some tears, some of us more than others. It’s difficult because you’ve been with these guys so long. It’s a pretty intense experience. It ends abruptly and any coach will tell you that’s very tough. It’s not easy to let them go like that.”
Kalamazoo College, Earl’s alma mater, hosted the event. Earl, who played for the Hornets from 1988-92, was inducted into the Kalamazoo College Athletic Hall of Fame along with teammates from the 1991-93 squads.
“I guess I’m a hall of famer,” he said. “I wasn’t way high up on the team, but I certainly made my contributions. It was neat.”