The Rhinelander High School boys' tennis team closed out the regular season with a pair of wins Tuesday, defeating D.C. Everest and Ashland in a home triangular at the RHS tennis courts.
The Hodags defeated the Evergreens 5-2 in the first match and knocked off Ashland 4-3 in the nightcap despite a less than full lineup. Seniors Bridger Flory and Freddy Wisner were off running with the RHS track team Tuesday night, helping the boys' win their first conference title in 52 years.
"What made these wins especially sweet was we had some people missing and some JVs stepped in and did a good job," coach Bob Heideman said.
Ian Conkey stepped into Wisner's role at No. 3 singles and won both of his matches. Conkey rallied from behind to defeat Everest's Simon Bocoun 4-6, 7-6, 6-3 in the opening match and then cruised in the second match with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Ashland's Garrett Kabasa.
Zach Thompson and Jack DeNamur took turns filling Flory's spot at No. 3 doubles and both came away with wins. Berwig and Thompson defeated Everest's Robby Alston and Collin Neuser 6-1, 6-2. DeNamur and Berwig defeated Ashland's Logan Huting and Jason Van Horn 6-4, 6-4.
"Zach Thompson and Jack Denamur replaced Bridger Flory at 3 doubles and played well," Heideman noted. "Zach lobbed well and Jack volleyed well. Billy Berwig took a more active leadership role."
The Hodags swept doubles against the Evergreens in relatively short order. Connor Young and Logan Oestreich were 6-1, 6-3 winners at No. 1 doubles and Luke Ring and Elijah Everest took the second flight 6-0, 6-2.
Jacob Weddle fell 6-4, 7-5 to Everest's Lucas Allen in the top flight of singles while Russell Benoy dropped a three-setter to Everest's Danny Cornish 7-6, 1-6, 6-1 at No. 2.
The Ashland win hinged on a three-set win for Ring and Evers at No. 2 doubles as they edged Kyle Sapper and Rhett Hopper in a super tiebreaker 2-6, 6-4, 10-7.
"We continued winning close matches with Luke and Elijah winning a three-setter," Heideman said, referencing the number of close matches Rhinelander won this past Saturday at the Great Northern Conference tournament. "Ian Conkey did the same. A little of the confidence from Saturday was still with them. Winning breeds winning."
Thompson, filling in for Benoy at No. 2 singles, dropped a three-setter to Ashland's Devin Sunie, 3-6, 6-3, 10-3. Weddle lost to Carson Honkala in the top flight 6-2, 7-5.
Young and Oestreich were defeated 6-1, 6-2 by Jared Tollas and Augustin Rasmussen at No. 1 doubles.
Bryan La received credit for two forfeit wins Tuesday as neither Everest nor Ashland fielded an entry at No. 4 singles.
Rhinelander closes the regular season 15-8 overall in dual meets and now prepares for WIAA subsectional play Monday at Lakeland Union High School in Minocqua.
Jeremy Mayo may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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