2006 Season Recap

2005-2006 Articles

2006 SEASON RECAP

The 2001-2005 Metamora tennis teams won 64 out of 76 dual matches, won three regular season Mid-Illini Conference titles, one tournament championship, two Peoria Sectional plaques, and sent 21 players to the state tournament.  However, with five of its top six having graduated in 2005, the 2006 Redbird squad was faced with the arduous challenge of living up to the lofty expectations that come with yearly success.  Adding to the difficulty of replacing so many top players was the fact that Metamora’s 2006 schedule was easily the most difficult in school history.  That this year’s Redbird tennis team was able to accomplish what it did facing such difficult opposition was extremely impressive.

For the twelfth year in a row, Metamora finished unbeaten in the league against Limestone, East Peoria, and Washington, extending the school’s overall winning streak against those three teams to 71.  Consistent foes Dunlap and Morton, also having graduated significant portions of their 2005 teams, were bolstered by a freshman move-in (Alex Clark of Dunlap), a freshman stand-out (Brock Reiman of Morton), and a junior transfer (Grant Zimmerman of Morton).  Their returning players, combined with the additions mentioned above, allowed those squads to stay ahead of Metamora during the 2006 campaign.  Morton, after tying Dunlap at 9-1 in dual matches, won the conference championship via Brock Reiman’s thrilling three-set victory over Metamora’s Nick Vaughn in the conference singles championship match.  Metamora finished third, winning six duals and losing four.  Unfortunately, 2006 was the first year in the last six that Metamora did not win a dual match against perennial power Dunlap.

Despite the challenges brought on by a difficult schedule, players lost to graduation, and relatively inexperienced replacements, Metamora’s tennis players still managed to achieve some excellent results during the ’06 campaign.  As a team, the best result of the year was a decisive 7-2 victory over Notre Dame, Metamora’s fifth straight since the series resumed in 2002.  Notre Dame had only lost 5-4 to Morton and was favored to defeat the Redbirds, but Metamora’s tennis players played outstanding throughout the line-up and clinched the match with five out of six singles victories.

Individually, the season was a success for several Redbirds.  For the fifth year in a row, Metamora had a sectional champion, as senior Nick Vaughn and sophomore Tyler Lampe won the school’s second ever doubles sectional title.  The pair defeated two outstanding teams from Richwoods in the semi-finals and championship.  In the final, Vaughn and Lampe beat Derek Gumm and Bill Grinstead, 6-4, 1-6, 6-1, playing as flawless a third set as this coach can remember.  It was the tenth consecutive season Metamora has qualified at least one doubles team for the state tournament.

At the state tournament, Vaughn and Lampe were seeded among the top 32 doubles teams in Illinois.  Their first round match provided plenty of drama, as the Redbird pair dug out of a 3-0 third set deficit to win 6-4.  Vaughn and Lampe wound up winning three matches and losing twice, thereby finishing in the 25th through 32nd group.  This finish allowed the pair to be named Honorable Mention All-State as a doubles team, joining Nate Rauh, Kyle Shoff, and Joe Harris as the only Redbirds to ever be so honored.  Only 48 out of the 128 qualifiers advance to play on the second day of the state tournament, and Metamora has now had someone playing on the second day five years in a row.

Vaughn and Lampe were named to the eight-person All-Conference first team.  It was Nick’s second time being honored with this award.  Griffin Carr was named to the second team.

Metamora scored five points at the state tournament, its fifth year in a row with at least that many.  Other Mid-Illini players to advance to state included Morton’s Brock and Ty Reiman (17th-24th), Brett Massey and Mike LaHood (65th-96th), Dunlap’s Alex Clark (65th-96th), Erick Brown (97th-128th), and Washington’s Joe Lehman (97th-128th).

Nick Vaughn was named the team’s Most Valuable Player.  Tyler Lampe received the Most Dedicated award, while Griffin Carr was maned Best Teammate.

Metamora took the courts in 2006 with three seniors, Nick Vaughn, Griffin Carr, and Mike Neumann.  These three young men were the core of the ’06 team and led the Redbirds to another successful tennis season.  Getting to know them off the court over the last four years has been very satisfying, as all three are fun-loving, caring, good-natured individuals.  We will miss all three of them greatly.  It is my hope that they have created memories from their tennis playing years that they will cherish and laugh about for years to come.  I will certainly never forget the times we have shared together.

The returning nucleus of Redbird players for the 2007 season, Matt Nosbisch, Kyle Cunningham, Justin Cregger, and Tyler Lampe, will set about making more memories in the months and years to come.  They will be joined by a whole lot of new faces next season, and it will be their role to continue the work ethic established over the last several years.  It should continue to be lots and lots of fun.

Congratulations to all Metamora Redbird tennis players on another memory-filled season.

18th Annual Metamora Tennis Open Held

Nate Rauh Becomes Only Third Player to Record Three Singles Titles

Metamora – In a tournament that featured higher caliber play than any Metamora Tennis Open in history, Nate Rauh won his third singles championship in the last four years, outlasting former teammte Ty Wyffels in an epic final, 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.  Nate has won all three MTOs he has entered in the past four years, last losing to Joe Harris, 6-1, 6-4 in the quarterfinals in 2002.  For Wyffels, it was his first MTO since capturing the title in 2002 with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win over Kelly Willard.

Past singles champions have their names etched on a plaque.  The list includes Dan Ritschel (7 titles), Kelly Willard (5), Nate Rauh (3), Daren Gravlin (1), Ty Wyffels (1) and Kyle Shoff (1).

The championship match was a battle of strokes as well as fatigue, as both players had to play difficult semi-final matches earlier in the morning.  In the closer semi-final, Rauh battled back from losing the first set to defeat Nick Vaughn, 3-6, 6-0, 6-3.  Wyffels had a surprisingly quick match against defending champion Kyle Shoff in the other semi-final, winning 6-1, 6-4.  Shoff had looked excellent in defeating Vuong Ngo, 6-4, 6-3 in the quarterfinals, but Wyffels’ serve and volley game and improved ground strokes proved to be too much in the semis.

Rauh’s run to the championship included a first round victory over his uncle, Kevin Rauh, 6-0, 6-2.  In the quarterfinals, he played Andy Ngo, winning 6-4, 6-3 in a well-played match by both players.  His three-set wins over Vaughn and Wyffels made this singles championship a well-earned one.  The four semi-finalists represented Metamora High School’s last four Most Valuable Players.  Wyffels’ road to the finals included a 6-0, 6-0 win over Jared Rauh in the first round followed by a 6-2, 6-3 triumph over Stephan Rauh in the quarterfinals.

The consolation bracket was very competitive as well, as Pat and Ryan Donnelly advanced through their respective halves of the draw to reach the final.  In this first ever father-son battle, Pat got the best of Ryan, earning the consolation championship for 2006.

Doubles

The doubles portion of the MTO was also filled with quality teams.  The top four seeds advanced through the first two rounds to reach the semi-finals.  In one semi, Wyffels and Shoff defeated Nate and Stephan Rauh, 7-6, 6-2 in a highly entertaining match.  In the other semi, Metamora tennis coach Kelly Willard and Nick Vaughn beat Vuong and Andy Ngo, 6-4, 6-3.  Willard and Vaughn won the championship match, holding off Wyffels and Shoff, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2.  It was Willard’s 7th doubles title (with five different partners) and Vaughn’s first championship in MTO history.

In the consolation bracket final, Jared and Kevin Rauh outlasted Brad and Mike Nosbisch in a long three-set match.

Boys 12s and 10s

Two new divisions were created for the 2006 MTO.  Will Koehrsen defeated Kevin Wang and Christoph Goettler in a round-robin 12 and under division.  Wang took second place in the division.

Paul Wang defeated Ryan Willard and Fletcher Koehrsen  to win the 10 and under title.  Willard took second place in the division.  All three of these players were 7 or 8, and they played their matches in 96 degree heat, competing valiantly.

Congratulations to all on another successful Metamora Tennis Open!!!

Redbirds Have Tri-County Success

Peoria – Metamora was well represented in this year’s Tri-County tennis tournament, as all age divisions were loaded with current and future Redbirds.

In the boys 18 division, two Metamora players reached the quarterfinals.  Incoming junior Tyler Lampe defeated East Peoria’s Dewey Kim and Buddy Hippen of Richwoods in the first two rounds before losing to third-seeded Pat Lawless, a recent graduate of Notre Dame High School.  Incoming freshman Stephan Rauh beat Devin Norton of Washington and Pat Callahan of Notre Dame before running into eventual champion Chase Klaus of Richwoods in the quarterfinals.

In the boys 14 division, Metamora had seven players competing.  Freshman Nate Wilson advanced to the semi-finals, where he was ousted 7-5, 7-6 by the eventual champion, Nick Skender.  Freshman David Stewart reached the quarter-finals, where he lost 6-4, 7-5 to Skender.  Also reaching the quarters was freshman Ryan Donnelly, where he lost to eventual finalist Scott Caughey.  Losing first round matches were freshman Ben Laird, freshman Greg Coffman, and sixth-graders Christoph Goettler and Kevin Wang.

In the boys 10 division, four of the eight players were future Redbirds.  Will Koehrsen successfully defended his 2005 title, winning tight battles with Grant Reiman and Chandler Clayton in the semi-finals and finals, respectively.  His 7-5, 6-3 victory over Clayton in the finals made him the first Redbird to ever capture two Tri-County titles.  Congratulations, Will!!  Losing first round matches were fifth grader Tyler Ngo, fourth grader Paul Wang, and third grader Ryan Willard.  

All in all, the 2006 Tri-County tournament was a great success for all involved, win or lose.  The experience and confidence gained from tournament competition are invaluable.  Congratulations to all current and future Redbirds on a successful tournament.

State Top 25 – May 3, 2006

State of Illinois Tennis Rankings

(Note:  these rankings are now based on state tournament potential, not necessarily how the teams would fare in dual matches against each other)

Commentary:  The top eight teams are very clear this year.  For any other team in Illinois to earn a state trophy in a few weeks would take a monstrous effort.  Deerfield, Highland Park, and Stevenson face the daunting task of being in the same sectional as each other (along with Libertyville).  Glenbrook North, Glenbrook South, Prospect, and Fremd are also in the same sectional as each other, hindering the chances of any of them performing their best at state.  Lyons and Hinsdale Central share a sectional, but each should be able to get their entire team to state.  Lake Forest and Warren also share a sectional but should have no trouble sending their best players to the big dance.

1  Lake Forest  Lake Forest won the Tom Pitchford Invitational last weekend.  The Scouts had Alex Nemerov finish in the top eight at #1 singles, Carl-Eric Girardin win #2 singles, Parker and Saltarelli finish 4th at #1 doubles, and Nusslock and Donovan finish 2nd at #2 singles.  Anything less than a state championship would be underachieving for this group.
T2  Lyons Lyons tied GBN for third place at the Pitchford.  Jordan Knue finished 4th at #1 singles, Grant Kassal was in the top 8 at #2 singles, Robare and Smits finished 2nd at #1 doubles, and Guerra and Chiricotti finished 4th at #2 doubles.  If Lyons qualifies all six players for the state tournament, they could challenge for the team title.  
T2  Glenbrook North  GBN tied Lyons for third place at the Pitchford.  Eric Spector finished 3rd at #1 singles, Greyser Clark finished 11th at #2 singles, Anderson and Sawyer finished 11th/12th at #1 doubles, and Kaspers and Kandelman won #2 doubles.  
T2  Highland Park  Highland Park finished 2nd at the Pitchford over the weekend.  Chudacoff and Lewis remained unbeaten on the season by winning #1 doubles.  Nik Lluboja finished 9th/10th at #1 singles, Alex Zazove finished 5th/6th at #2 singles, and Woldenberg/Barnett finished 5th/6th at #2 doubles.  If HP is able to qualify all six players (daunting task), they will be neck and neck with Lake Forest for the overall title.
T2  Deerfield The defending state champs finished 5th at the Pitchford.  Scott Lieberman finished 9th/10th at #1 singles, Scott Buchowski finished 4th at #2 singles, Sandager and Pollack finished 6th at #1 doubles, and Gross/Mihalov finished 3rd at #2 doubles.  Similar to HP, if Deerfield can qualify all six players (not likely), they will be in the running on the Saturday of the state tournament.
T2  Hinsdale Central  Hinsdale Central finished in a 3-way tie for 8th at the Pitchford, but don’t be deceived.  Coach Kramer will undoubtedly put his team in a position to compete for the state championship in three weeks.  Justin Smith finished 26th at #1 singles, Henry Kruchko finished 5th/6th at #2 singles, Wroble and Issleib finished 8th at #1 doubles, and Atassi/Klein finished 7th at #2 doubles.
T2  Warren  Warren finished 6th at the Pitchford.  Sophomore Dennis Nevolo dropped only 12 games in 5 matches en route to the #1 singles title.  Teammate Keith Moran lost a three-set final at #2 singles.  Warren’s doubles teams finished 22nd (#1 doubles) and 20th (#2 doubles).  Warren’s quest for a state trophy may hinge on whether or not they qualify doubles teams for state and then score a few points with each doubles entry.
  8  Stevenson Stevenson finished 7th at the Pitchford.  Knot Likitkumchorn finished 7th/8th at #1 singles, Chris Speer finished 3rd at #2 singles, Chari/Hackman finished 14th at #1 doubles, and Shlykhta/Pukshawsky finished 9th at #2 doubles.  Stevenson will have difficulty qualifying their entire team for the state tournament, severely hampering their chances for a team trophy.
9  Oak Park River Forest 15  Belleville West 21  Galesburg
10  Naperville North 16  Edwardsville 22  Crystal Lake Prairie Ridge
11  Danville 17  Moline 23  Prospect
12  Barrington 18  Homewood-Flossmoor 24  Wheaton Warrenville South
13  Peoria Richwoods 19  New Trier 25  Naperville Central
14  Chicago Latin 20  Naperville Neuqua Valley
Others:  Loyola, Belleville East, Orland Park Sandburg, Elmhurst York, Downers Grove South.

Indoor Quad Starts 2006 Season

Competition at an All-Time High

Peoria – The 2006 boys tennis season got underway at The Clubs at River City Saturday with the fourth annual indoor quad involving Metamora, Moline, Danville, and Gurnee Warren.  The three teams other than Metamora return a collective 12 state qualifiers and will likely all finish in the state’s top ten at the state tournament in May, so Metamora, with a very inexperienced team, had tremendous competition for its first event of the season.  This competition will only serve to help the young Redbirds improve as they proceed through the early part of the season.

Metamora, playing four players who had never played a varsity tennis match, was a bit overpowered early in the day, dropping five convincing matches to Danville.  However, the Redbirds played better as the day progressed, winning once against Moline and twice against Warren.  Senior Nick Vaughn had the day’s best results, rallying from an opening loss to Danville’s Chad Simpson to post wins over both Moline and Warren.  Mike Neumann grabbed the day’s other victory, winning his only singles match of the day against Warren.

The singles star of the day was Danville’s Chad Simpson.  After defeating Vaughn in his first match, Simpson posted a big win over Keith Moran of Warren, 6-7, 6-3, 6-2.  Moran finished in the state’s top 8 last year.  The doubles stars of the day were all from Moline, as the Maroons posted a perfect 9-0 doubles record on the day.  Their depth carried them to the team title with an 11-4 match record.  Danville finished 10-5, Warren was 6-9, and Metamora 3-12.

The indoor quad continues to be a great way to kick off the boys tennis season.  Fierce but friendly competition make this event a truly enjoyable experience.  Congratulations to all involved.  

2006 Mid-Illini Boys Tennis Predictions

Metamora – The 2006 Mid-Illini Conference boys tennis season will be vastly different from last year’s race.  Although the same teams may continue to be involved in the hunt for the title, the players will be, for the most part, less experienced than in years past.  The 2005 season featured the best overall talent in the history of the league.  In 2005, thirteen returning players for Metamora, Morton, and Dunlap had qualified for the previous year’s state tournament.  This year, only two state qualifiers return (Metamora’s Nick Vaughn and Morton’s Ty Reiman).  A full preview of each team follows.  (Metamora has been unranked)  

Predicted M-I Finish Last Year’s Result Last Four Years
1.  Morton  (Joal Stanfield – 2nd year) 11-3 (8-2 in M-I) 46-8
2.  Dunlap  (Mario Palmieri – 3rd year) 15-1 (9-1 in M-I) 51-11
3.  Washington  (Dave Krostal – 6th year) 7-8 (4-6 in M-I) 23-37
4.  East Peoria  (Shane Smith – 5th year) 3-9 (2-8 in M-I) 9-43
5.  Limestone  (Chuck Sanders – 12th year) 2-13 (0-10 in M-I) 18-37
Metamora  (Kelly Willard – 9th year) 12-4 (7-3 in M-I) 51-9
MORTON
Long Gone

  • Jordan Nestrud  3-time all-conference, 2-time Mid-Illini singles champion (2004, 2005), 3-time state qualifier, 2-time Peoria Journal Star Player of the Year, all-state second team (singles – 2005), sectional singles champion (2005).
  • Brent Belser  2-time all-conference, 3-time state qualifier, Mid-Illini singles champion (#2 – 2004, 2005), all-state honorable mention (singles – 2005).
  • Eric Ogden  2-time state qualifier, Mid-Illini doubles champion (#2 – 2005).
  • Josh Butler  state qualifier (2004).

Returning for More:  

  • Ty Reiman — 2-time state qualifier, Mid-Illini doubles champion (#2 – 2005).
  • Brett Massey, Mike LaHood.

Potter Outlook:

Morton will be led in 2006 by freshman Brock Reiman, whose junior career has shown very promising results.  The shoes of Nestrud, Belser, Ogden, and Butler will be difficult to fill, but Morton will have the league’s deepest team in addition to strength at the top.  The Potters are the two-time defending Bloomington Sectional champions but will be severely challenged in 2006 by Normal U-High.

Interesting Facts:

  • Morton has yet to post a dual match victory over Dunlap since the beginning of Dunlap’s Mario Palmieri – Nathan Durst coaching regime.  
  • Morton’s 5-4 upset loss to Normal U-High last year was their first non-conference defeat since 1999.
  • Jordan Nestrud’s top 16 singles finish at the state tournament last year was the conference’s second highest all-time, falling just short of Nathan Kunkle’s top 12 finish in 1999.

DUNLAP

Long Gone

  • Joe Withers — 3-time all-conference, 3-time state qualifier, all-state second team (doubles 2004, 2005), 2-time sectional doubles champion (2003, 2005).
  • Jeff Bucher  2-time all-conference, 3-time state qualifier, Mid-Illini doubles champion (2005), all-state second team (doubles 2004, 2005), 2-time sectional doubles champion (2003, 2005).
  • Thiago Wong  all-conference, 2-time state qualifier.
  • Paul O’Connor  2-time state qualifier.

Returning for More:  

  • Michael Christison, Erick Brown, Ryan McMickle.

Eagle Outlook:

Hard hit by graduation, Dunlap will rely on strength up and down the line-up in 2006 to compete for the Mid-Illini championship.  Sophomore Michael Christison should be Dunlap’s best singles player, with Erick Brown and Ryan McMickle close behind.  The Eagles will likely be far behind Richwoods in the race for the Peoria Sectional title.

Interesting Facts  

  • In the last three seasons, Dunlap is 1-5 against Metamora and 4-2 against Morton.  Coach Palmieri’s Mid-Illini boys and girls record is 47-3 with all three losses coming against the Metamora boys team.    
  • In the last three seasons, Dunlap’s dual match doubles record against Metamora is 3-15. 
  • Joe Withers and Jeff Bucher were the Mid-Illini conference’s first top eight seeded duo in history last year at the state tournament.  

WASHINGTON

Long Gone:  

  • Lucas Doremus, Micah DeJarnatte.

Returning for More:  

  • Joe Lehman, Dan Stockton, Mike Vroman, Ryan Piers, Matt West.

Panther Outlook:

Senior Joe Lehman is Washington’s finest singles player since foreign exchange student Mario Panzic swept through the area unbeaten in 2001.  He will lead an experienced team in its quest for an upper division Mid-Illini finish.  

Interesting Facts:

  • Washington has not defeated Morton, Metamora, or Dunlap since 1994, losing all 58 dual matches against those three schools during that time period.  That could change in 2006.

EAST PEORIA

Long Gone:  

  • Don Mach, Brian Messmore, Jeremy Baker.

Returning for More:  

  • Ben Katz, Paul Schoedel, Kevin Dorich, Ben Morrow.

Raider Outlook:  

East Peoria dug itself out of the Mid-Illini basement last year, finishing 2-8 in the league.  The Raiders had a successful underclass team and return several varsity players, so expectations should be higher than in the past few years.  

Interesting Facts:

  • East Peoria was the last team other than Morton, Metamora, and Dunlap to win the Mid-Illini Conference title (in 1994).  The Raiders also won the conference crown in 1992.

LIMESTONE

Long Gone

  • Kris Baker.

Returning for More:  

  • Nick Ricca, Nick Bock, Luke Leibach, Will Mosher, Nick Jacobs.

Rocket Outlook:  

After a 16-24 three-year stretch from 2002 through 2004, Limestone dropped to 2-13 last year and did not win a Mid-Illini Conference dual match.  The Rockets will have a fair amount of experience in their line-up but may have difficulty competing at the top couple of positions.

Interesting Facts:

  • Coach Sanders is the Mid-Illini dean of coaching as he enters his 12th season with the Rockets.

METAMORA

Long Gone

  • Nate Rauh — 3-time all-conference, Mid-Illini singles champion (#2-2003), Mid-Illini doubles champion (2004), 2-time state qualifier, honorable mention all-state (doubles – 2004), sectional doubles champion (2004), sectional singles champion (2005), Tom Pitchford Sportsmanship State Winner.
  • John Armstrong — 2-time all-conference, 2-time state qualifier.
  • Mike Axelson — 2-time state qualifier, Mid-Illini doubles champion (#2-2004)
  • Chris Neumann, Martin Hevesy.

Returning for More:  

  • Nick Vaughn — all-conference, Mid-Illini doubles champion (#2-2004), 2-time state qualifier.
  • Griffin Carr, Tyler Lampe, Mike Neumann.

Redbird Outlook:  

Nick Vaughn will be Metamora’s top player in 2006.  The 6’4″ left-handed senior qualified for the state tournament in singles last year after going in doubles in 2004.  The other returnees plus a few newcomers will have fierce battles for spots in the Redbird line-up.

Interesting Facts:  

  • Metamora has had the sectional singles champion in three of the last four years.  Ty Wyffels won the sectional in 2002 and 2003, and Nate Rauh won in 2005.  John Armstrong finished second in 2004.
  • In the last eight seasons, 14 of Metamora’s 16 doubles entries in the sectional tournaments have been seeded.  Only in 2000 and 2005 did one of Metamora’s doubles teams not receive a seed.  Ten of Metamora’s 16 singles players have been seeded.  
  • Metamora has defeated Dunlap in at least one dual in each of the last five years, Dunlap’s longest such streak in school history.

 

2006 Schedule Full of Quality Opponents

Non-Conference Competition to be Exceptional

Metamora – Metamora’s tennis team will continue to schedule excellent competition in 2006.  The ’06 season will be the last season of playing Mid-Illini opponents twice each.  A brief preview of Metamora’s opponents follows.

  • Moline  Moline will have another outstanding team in 2006, as they return their five out of their six state qualifiers from last year’s sectional championship team.  Moline has won 15 consecutive sectional titles and has finished in the state’s top ten 12 times in the last 21 seasons.  Moline and Metamora have split 3-2 decisions the last two years.  The Redbirds will play Moline as part of the indoor quad on March 18.

  • Danville  Danville returns one of Illinois’ finest singles players for his senior year, Chad Simpson.  In addition, the Vikings return super junior Camerun Blaylock as well as two other state qualifiers from a year ago.  Danville, winners of their own sectional last year, has won 16 sectional championships in the last 21 years.  The Redbirds have squeaked by Danville 3-2 in each of the last two meetings.  Metamora will also play Danville as part of the indoor quad on March 18.

  • Gurnee Warren  Warren, directed by Illinois High School Tennis Coaches Association President Greg Cohen, will be near the top of the state tournament standings again in 2006.  Warren tied for 6th at last year’s state tournament, finishing one point from the school’s first ever state trophy.  Keith Moran finished in the top eight in the state in singles, while freshman teammate Dennis Nevolo finished in the top sixteen.  Those two both return in 2006, with Nevolo currently holding the #1 ranking in the United States for boys 16 and under.  Metamora will play Warren as part of the indoor quad on March 18.

  • Peoria Richwoods  After winning 20 sectional titles between 1978 and 1998, Richwoods returned to its winning ways in 2005, winning its first sectional crown in 7 years.  The Knights return five of their top six players from a year ago.  Sophomore Chase Klaus, who defeated a top 32 seed in the first round of last year’s state tournament, returns to lead Richwoods in ’06.  He is joined by quality returnees Bill Grinstead, Dylan and Derek Gumm, and Roger Clayton.  The Redbirds lead the three-year old series with Richwoods, 2-1.  Metamora hosts Richwoods on March 28.

  • Peoria Notre Dame  Notre Dame will provide Metamora with more excellent competition in 2006.  Senior Pat Lawless will lead the Irish charges, and he will be followed closely by quality seniors Pat Callahan and Andrew Kleczek.  Since the rivalry resumed in 2002, Metamora is 4-0 against Notre Dame, including last year’s 8-1 triumph.  The Redbirds will host ND as part of a triangular meet on April 22.

  • Normal U-High  U-High will easily be the best team in Bloomington-Normal in 2006.  The Pioneers return the bulk of last year’s exceptional squad and will probably debut freshman Audre Aung at the #1 spot in their daunting line-up this season.  Metamora defeated U-High 7-2 last year and has won five straight in the series.  The Redbirds will host the Pioneers as part of a triangular meet on April 22.

  • Sterling  Metamora will travel to Sterling for the first time in 2006.  The Redbirds sneaked past Sterling last year, 5-4, on senior night.  Sterling won fourteen sectional titles between 1970 and 1990 but hasn’t won one since.  The Warriors are coached by long-time boss Jim Preston.  Metamora will play at Sterling on May 16.

  • Pontiac  Pontiac returns to Metamora’s schedule after a three-year hiatus.  The Redbirds lead the all-time series with the Indians, 8-0.  Metamora will host Pontiac on April 5.

Many exciting changes are on the way for the 2007 schedule, including duals against Belleville East and Belleville West and a possible expansion of the indoor quad to include the likes of Edwardsville and another top quality program from the Chicago area.

Redbirds Participate in Halloween Jr. Open

Koehrsen Wins Boys 10 Championship

Peoria – The 2005-2006 winter tennis season is upon us, and Redbird tennis players have taken to the courts in preparation for the 2006 boys season.

The Halloween Jr. Open, completed October 30, featured several Redbird tennis players.  Battling his way through the boys 18 draw was Redbird senior Nick Vaughn, who won two matches in the main draw before falling to Chase Klaus of Richwoods, 7-6, 6-3.  Also competing in the boys 18 tournament was Metamora senior Griffin Carr, who lost his first match before winning two out of three in the back draw.  In the back draw, he recorded a 7-6, 6-2 victory over Washington’s #1 player, Joe Lehman, before dropping a 7-6, 6-4 decision to Richwoods’ Dylan Gumm in the consolation final.

Two young Redbirds competed in the boys 10 division.  Will Koehrsen, 9, won the title with a three-set victory over the event’s top seed, Chandler Clayton.  The final featured the top two ranked 10 and under boys in the MITA, and Koehrsen staked his claim as the one to beat.  Kevin Wang, 10, dropped a 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 decision to a player who then extended Koehrsen to a three-set match in the next round.  After that loss, however, Wang won two matches in easy fashion, capturing the tournament’s back draw championship.

On the girls side, future Redbirds Rachel Ngo and Taylor Koehrsen finished 1st and 2nd, respectively, in the girls 14 division.

Congratulations to all on a successful tournament!

Future Redbirds Win State Cross Country Title

Record Setting Performance by Metamora Grade School / St. Mary’s Runners

Normal – The 2005 Metamora Grade School / St. Mary’s cross country team capped off its unbelievable season with a team state championship.  The CC team, loaded with future MTHS tennis players, scored a record 29 points, defeating runner-up Toledo Cumberland by 89 points.

The highest individual finisher for MGS was Ryan Van Fossen, who finished in third place with a time of 10:47 over the two-mile course.  Future tennis players Ryan Donnelly, Stephan Rauh, Nate Wilson, and Greg Coffman finished 4th, 10th, 11th, and 49th, respectively, out of the 182 runners that qualified for the state meet.  Running for Germantown Hills Jr. High, future Redbird tennis player David Stewart, who had qualified as an individual, finished 78th.

Donnelly, Rauh, Wilson, Coffman, and Stewart are all 8th graders and will be welcome additions to the Redbird tennis program in 2007.

Congratulations on a well-deserved state championship!! 

Nick Vaughn Wins Alley Cat Jr. Open

Other Future Redbirds Also Perform Well

Peoria – Metamora senior Nick Vaughn won the Middle Illinois Tennis Association (MITA) 18 and under title held at The Clubs at River City July 29-31.  Nick was the top seed in the 18 and under division, and he cruised through his first match, 6-1, 6-1.  In the semi-finals, he was up against third-seeded Joe Unger of Urbana.  Nick put on an awesome serving show in defeating Unger 6-3, 6-4.  The championship opponent was second-seeded Dylan Gumm of Peoria.  Again, Nick’s overpowering serve and smothering net game proved too much for his opponent, as Nick won the championship match 6-3, 6-4.

Metamora was also represented by Griffin Carr in the 18 and under tournament, Stephan Rauh, Ben Laird, David Stewart, Nate Wilson, and Alex Corwin in the 14 and under bracket, and Kevin Wang in the 10 and under division.

Rauh had the best results of those players, reaching the championship singles match despite being seeded only fourth.  In the semi-finals, Rauh improved his lifetime record against Nick Skender of Dunlap to 4-0 with a 6-3, 6-3 victory.  

David Stewart and Ben Laird reached the quarterfinals of the 14s, with Ben winning twice in the main draw and David once.  Stewart had the unfortunate luck of running into Rauh in the quarterfinals; in a very competitive match, Rauh defeated Stewart, 6-3, 6-2.  In two of his three matches, Nate Wilson was paired against seeded players.  He lost those two but was able to get a victory over Ben Seadler of Springfield in the back draw.  Griffin Carr won two matches in the 18s back draw before losing in the consolation final.

Congratulations to all current and future Redbirds on a successful tournament! 

Griffin Carr Wins 18 and Under Title

East Peoria – Metamora senior Griffin Carr won the Middle Illinois Tennis Association (MITA) 18 and under title held at Illinois Central College last month.  The tournament only attracted three individuals in the oldest age division:  Carr, Matt Milhauser (#1 player for Pontiac), and Joe Lehman (#1 player for Washington).  

The format of the event, therefore, was round robin.  Griffin defeated Milhauser in his first match, 6-4, 6-4.  He then went on to defeat Joe Lehman, 6-3, 6-3 to capture the overall title.

The tournament championship represented Carr’s first MITA title of his junior career.  Congratulations Griffin!!

 

Will Koehrsen Wins Tri-County Tournament

Peoria – Germantown Hills resident William Koehrsen, who turned nine years old June 1, won the 2005 ten-and-under championship at the Tri-County Tournament in Peoria.  Koehrsen defeated Derek Rineberg of Pekin in the championship match, 6-4, 6-0.

Although only five individuals entered the ten-and-under competition, all five were good players.  Will advanced to the title match by defeating Grant Reiman of Morton, 6-2, 6-0, in the semi-finals.  Rineberg defeated Reiman’s twin brother, Trent, in the other semi-final.

Germantown Hills resident Kevin Wang was the other ten-year-old in the tournament.  He lost a marathon match to Grant Reiman, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, in the first round.

Will joins Dan Ritschel, Daren Gravlin, and Stephan Rauh as Metamora area players who have won Tri-County championships.  Congratulations!!

 

Nate Rauh Wins Tom Pitchford Award

State’s Top Sportsmanship Honor Caps Stellar High School Career

Nate is presented with the 2005 Tom Pitchford Award by Matt Gross (Ottawa HS), chairman of the Pitchford Committee.

Nate and Coach Willard with the 2005 Tom Pitchford Sportsmanship Award.  Congratulations Nate!!!

Arlington Heights – Metamora senior Nate Rauh received the largest award of his high school tennis career at the 2005 state tournament, being named one of two winners of the prestigious Tom Pitchford Sportsmanship Award.  Nate shared the stage with co-winner Jeff Dawson of Wheaton St. Francis, who also won the singles state championship.  Nate and Jeff were presented with their plaques in between the doubles and singles state finals at Hersey High School in Arlington Heights.

Tom Pitchford was a moving force in Illinois high school tennis for years, a great inspiration and example for all tennis enthusiasts.  As a tournament director, Tom had few peers.  He thought the bigger the better.  The largest in-season tournament of the year in Illinois, often referred to as mini-state, is named in his honor.  He was a driving force in moving the state tennis tournament to the Chicago suburbs and making it the hugely successful, respected meet it is today.

Nate is certainly a worthy recipient of any sportsmanship award, and for him to receive the state’s highest honor in that area is very appropriate.  Nate’s contributions to the overall image of Metamora tennis cannot be overlooked, as many other Redbird players were positively impacted by his leadership and unwavering sportsmanship that he exhibited on the tennis court.

Two of his biggest tennis highlights of the 2005 season were made even more remarkable because of what happened immediately after they occurred.  Metamora’s exciting 5-4 victory at Dunlap was clinched by Nate’s and Nick Vaughn’s dramatic three-set doubles win; however, Nate’s first words to our team huddle were to request that we make sure we were quiet and respectful in our celebration.  

In the sectional final, Nate defeated the top seed, Chase Klaus of Richwoods, to win the singles crown.  His first words outside of the fence were not those of celebration, though.  Instead, they were to Chase’s family, as Nate wanted to let them know that the match had been such a pleasure because Chase is such a fine young man.  These acts are not typical for teenage boys, but they are for Nate.  It should also not be surprising that he would not want these acts shared with others.  Sorry, Nate!

Nate was not only a great sportsman; he also played some outstanding tennis.  It might be surprising to some to note that Nate ended his high school career with winning combined singles and doubles records against each of the four other best seniors in the Mid-Illini Conference, Jordan Nestrud, Joe Withers, Jeff Bucher, and Brent Belser.  He played his best against the very best, finishing with a varsity singles record of 2-1 against the two-time Journal Star Player of the Year, Jordan Nestrud; he was also 3-0 against the outstanding doubles team of Joe Withers and Jeff Bucher.  Additionally, Nate is the only player in the history of the Mid-Illini Conference to win both a singles and doubles sectional championship.

Nate certainly never received the press of the other talented seniors mentioned above.  Typical of his character, though, is the fact that Nate never wanted any press unless it was for the entire Metamora tennis team.  He was a truly rare team player that comes along only once in a great while.  

No one in Illinois was more deserving of the Tom Pitchford Sportsmanship Award in 2005 than Nate Rauh of Metamora.  It is often said that nice guys finish last.  All evidence to the contrary.

Congratulations, Nate!! 

 

Stephan Rauh Runner-Up in Tri-County

Peoria – Metamora resident Stephan Rauh, 13, was the runner-up in the 2005 14-and-under Tri-County Tennis Tournament held at Glen Oak Park in Peoria.

Rauh, last year’s 12-and-under champion, was the top seed in the event.  After two fairly routine matches placed him in the semi-finals, the Metamora Grade School eighth grader was paired against fourth-seeded Scott Caughey of Peoria.  After dropping the first set, Rauh rallied and steamrolled his opponent in the last two sets, winning 4-6, 6-0, 6-1.

The championship match was a rematch of last year’s final.  In that contest, Rauh had easily defeated Peter Heidrich of Peoria, 6-2, 6-3.  The score was the same this year, but the victor was reversed.  

With his advancement to the championship match, Rauh became the first Metamora resident in history to play in Tri-County championship matches two consecutive years.  Congratulations!

 

Metamora Wins Third Straight All-Sports Trophy

Peoria – The 2004-2005 school year was another successful athletic one for Metamora High School, as for the third straight year Metamora earned the Mid-Illini Conference All-Sports Trophy.  The trophy is awarded to the school with the best overall sports programs (determined by conference finishes in all 16 sports) for the school year.

During the 2004-2005 school year, Metamora won championships in boys cross country, girls cross country, football, golf, boys track, and girls track.  Out of the 16 sports offered by the Mid-Illini Conference, Metamora teams finished in the top three in the conference in 15.

Metamora’s point total was the second highest in the history of the league (the 2002-2003 Metamora point total was the highest all-time).  Metamora finished with 10,000 points for the year, easily outdistancing second place Morton’s 8,900.  Dunlap was third with 7,100 and Washington fourth with 6,950.  East Peoria, Limestone, IVC, and Canton finished 5th through 8th, respectively.

Congratulations to all Redbird athletes on another exceptional school year.  Let’s make it four straight in 2005-2006!!

 

17th Annual Metamora Tennis Open Held

Shoff Becomes Sixth Singles Champ in 17-Year History of Event

Metamora – Kyle Shoff celebrated his birthday weekend with a title that had eluded him for the past several years, winning his first Metamora Tennis Open singles championship.  The St. Louis University tennis player cruised through the singles draw, dropping only two games in his first two matches.  In the final, he played a brilliant match against a senior-to-be at Metamora High School, Nick Vaughn, winning 6-3, 6-3.

Shoff, moments after his title, remarked “I’ve been wanting to win this tournament for a long time and have come so close the last couple of years.  It feels great to finally get my name on that plaque.”  Past singles champions have their names etched on a plaque.  The list includes Dan Ritschel (7 titles), Kelly Willard (5), Nate Rauh (2), Daren Gravlin (1), and Ty Wyffels (1).

Shoff’s run to the title match included wins over MTHS junior Kyle Cunningham, 6-1, 6-0 and eighth grade MGS student Stephan Rauh, 6-0, 6-1.  Vaughn’s march to the finals included a 6-1, 6-0 victory over MTHS senior Griffin Carr and a 6-0, 6-4 win over 14-time finalist Kelly Willard, the Metamora High School boys tennis coach.  In the semi-final win over Willard, Vaughn served nearly perfectly, only being stretched as far as deuce once on his serve.

The surprise semi-finalist of the day in the men’s draw was Stephan Rauh.  The diminutive 13-year old defeated 2002 graduate Tony Winkler and 2003 grad Andy Ngo, both in third set tie-breakers, to advance to a semi-final match with Shoff.  Expect nothing but good things in the future from this young player.

With Stephan Rauh playing in the men’s draw, the boys field was left wide open.  Justin Cregger, a 15-year old MTHS sophomore, took advantage of this by advancing to the final, where he defeated eighth grader David Stewart, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.  The long championship match featured quality rallies and tremendous hustle and desire by both players. 

The doubles tournament was won by Kelly Willard and Andy Ngo.  It was Willard’s sixth doubles title in the 10-year history of the event but his first since 2000.  The duo defeated Stephan Rauh and David Stewart in the championship match, 6-2, 6-1.  By advancing to the doubles final, David Stewart was the only player in the 2005 Metamora Tennis Open to collect two trophies (singles and doubles).

The women’s tournament was cancelled due to a lack of entries.

The weekend was successful for all involved.  The weather was extremely cooperative and the play was very good.  Congratulations to all of the participants.