2014 Articles

2014 Season Recap

Metamora (6/14) – For the first time since 2007, Metamora did not enter the season as defending conference and sectional champion.  The 2014 Redbird tennis team was determined to climb back on top of the conference and sectional hill, and it had spectacular results throughout the season.  Here are some of the 2014 squad’s highlights:

*  Metamora invited New Trier, Edwardsville, Moline, and Springfield to town to participate in the annual season-opening indoor event.  The Redbird tennis team won nine of its twelve matches on the day against remarkable competition, setting the tone early for what would become a memorable season.

*  The Redbirds successfully defended their team title at the Red & White Invitational, defeating Teutopolis, Peoria Notre Dame, and Barrington along the way.  The final against Barrington had the most drama, as Metamora easily swept #1 singles (senior Will Koehrsen) and #1 doubles (senior Mitchell Nguyen and freshman Fletcher Koehrsen) and was defeated quickly at #2 doubles and #3 doubles.  In the final match of the day, Redbird sophomore Ryan Willard won at #2 singles to clinch the tournament title for Metamora.

*  Two weeks later, Metamora won its third Bloomington Invite championship in the last four years, amassing 33 points in the 16-team field.  Will Koehrsen won an unprecedented fourth straight #1 singles title at the event, while teammate Mitchell Nguyen won the #2 singles title.  Ryan Willard and Fletcher Koehrsen finished 4th at #1 doubles, seniors Tyler Ngo and Nick Becker were 4th at #2 doubles, and seniors Trevor Lewandowski and Michael Doublin were also 4th at #3 doubles.

*  The Redbirds were dominant at the Ottawa Invite, winning three dual matches, all by the count of 5-0, to win the tournament.  Metamora defeated DeKalb, Rock Island Alleman, and Rockford Boylan at the event.  Metamora also handily won the Chatham-Glenwood Quad, besting Glenwood, Quincy Notre Dame, and Troy Triad in the three singles, three doubles format.

*  Metamora swept through the conference 6-0 in dual matches and won all four flights at the conference tournament.  Will Koehrsen won his fourth straight #1 singles title to finish his Mid-Illini career undefeated in four years as a singles player.  Mitchell Nguyen also won his fourth straight Mid-Illini crown (two in singles and two in doubles), teaming with Fletcher Koehrsen to capture the #1 doubles flight.  Ryan Willard won the title at #2 singles, and Nick Becker and Tyler Ngo were the #2 doubles champions.  It was only the third time in league history that one school swept all four flights at the conference meet (Metamora – 2003, Metamora – 2010, Metamora – 2014).  It was also the seventh straight year that all four Redbird entries played in the conference championship matches.

*  The Redbird tennis team captured the sectional title for the ninth time in the last twelve years, scoring 29 points to easily outpace second place Richwoods (18).  Will Koehrsen won his fourth straight sectional title (three in singles, one in doubles), blasting through the field with ease.  It was Metamora’s fifth straight sectional singles championship.  Mitchell Nguyen, the defending singles champion, finished third.  Ryan Willard and Fletcher Koehrsen advanced to the title match but had to default early in the first set when Willard tore his meniscus.  It was the ninth straight year Metamora played for the doubles crown and the first loss during that time period.  The other Redbird duo, Tyler Ngo and Nick Becker, reached the quarterfinals before being upset by a good Pontiac team.

*  Highlights from Metamora’s two overnight tournament trips included wins against Belleville Althoff and Alton and a fifth place finish at #1 singles for Will Koehrsen at mini-state, a tournament featuring 32 of the top programs in Illinois.

*  The state meet brought more success for the Redbird tennis program.  Will Koehrsen ended his fabulous career with a top 12 finish, becoming the first Redbird singles player to make it to Saturday at the state tournament.  Mitchell Nguyen won twice in the main draw and made it to Friday of the tournament for the first time.  The new doubles team of Fletcher Koehrsen and Trevor Lewandowski (replacing the injured Ryan Willard) won a match and almost won a second in a very good showing.  Overall, Metamora finished 16th (one point out of 12th), the fifth straight year the Redbirds have resided in the state’s top sixteen.

*  Metamora finished 20-2 in dual matches, dropping two tight 3-2 decisions early in the season and winning all others.  Metamora was unbeatable in traditional six singles, three doubles matches, and the Redbirds won twelve dual matches by shutout.

Individually, the season was remarkably successful as well.  There were many individual achievements; here are a few:

*  Will Koehrsen won singles tournament titles at Bloomington, the Mid-Illini tournament, and the IHSA Dunlap Sectional.  He compiled a 35-3 singles record this year and finished his Redbird singles career with a remarkable record of 143-17, easily eclipsing the old school record for total singles wins.  He ended his four-year varsity career having never lost a singles match on the courts at MTHS.  Will’s conference singles title was his fourth straight at #1 singles.  He was Metamora’s first ever top eight seed at the state meet in singles and made it to Saturday of the tournament, finishing in the top 12, earning second team all-state status.  It was Will’s fourth consecutive all-state honor.  For the fourth year in a row, he was also named the Peoria Journal Star Tennis Player of the Year.

*  Mitchell Nguyen won the #2 singles title at the Bloomington Invite and the Mid-Illini Conference #1 doubles championship.  It was Mitchell’s fourth straight conference crown, two at #1 doubles and two at #2 singles.  Mitchell finished 30-6 as a singles player this year, and ended his career with an overall singles mark of 97-19.  He qualified for the state meet for the fourth straight year, winning two main draw matches and advancing to Friday of the tournament to finish in the state’s top 48.

*  Ryan Willard had a terrific sophomore year, compiling records of 16-2 in singles (at #3) and 22-8 in doubles, mostly at the #1 position.  He won the Mid-Illini Conference #2 singles title and was named first team all-conference.  He qualified for the state meet with Fletcher Koehrsen but suffered a season-ending knee injury in the sectional final and was unable to compete the next weekend at state.  Willard will certainly be one of Metamora’s top players and leaders for the 2015 season.

*  Fletcher Koehrsen had a remarkable freshman campaign, finishing 11-0 in singles (at #4) and 29-12 in doubles, mostly at #1.  He won the Mid-Illini Conference #1 doubles title and was named first team all-conference.  He qualified for the state meet with Ryan Willard, winning one match in the back draw with Trevor Lewandowski, who filled in for the injured Willard.  Koehrsen did not drop a set in singles all year long, and he will be one of Metamora’s leaders in 2015.

*  Tyler Ngo and Nick Becker had good seasons for the Redbirds as well.  Ngo returned to the Redbird squad after a year off and compiled a sparkling 10-0 record in singles and 26-11 mark in doubles.  Becker anchored the #6 position for the Redbirds, finishing 6-1 in singles and 20-9 in doubles.  The duo won the Mid-Illini Conference #2 doubles title.  Both players were named second team all-conference.

*  Trevor Lewandowski, Michael Doublin, Brendan Axelson, and Justin McCoy combined for a singles record of 12-4 and a doubles mark of 36-15, contributing to the Redbird tennis team when called on and providing good depth throughout the year.  Lewandowski was able to play in the state meet for the injured Willard, winning a match in the back draw in a testament to the team’s overall depth.

The 2014 Metamora tennis team placed an exclamation point on a dozen years of unbelievable accomplishments.  Nine sectional titles.  Eight Mid-Illini titles.  Dozens of individual accomplishments and awards.  Each of the last five teams has finished in the top 16 at the single-class state meet, a string a success that has never before been accomplished by a small school.

I continue to be proud of the reputation Redbird tennis teams have established throughout the state.  Metamora tennis players are known all over Illinois as being fierce competitors but also as being fair, well-behaved young men.

The dedication and work ethic established at Metamora Township High School over the past dozen years continued right into 2014. The young men who participated on this year’s team can rightly be proud of their accomplishments. They have left a footprint on the MTHS tennis program that will forever be marked with unparalleled excellence on the court and outstanding friendships and camaraderie off the court.  I firmly believe the returning players on the 2015 team will continue to exhibit these qualities so as to help continue Metamora’s successful tennis seasons.

Congratulations to the Metamora Redbird tennis team on another fantastic season!!

Metamora Finishes Top 16 at State Tournament

Arlington Heights (5/31/14) – The 2014 Metamora tennis season came to an end over the weekend at the IHSA State Tournament, held in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago.  For the fifth straight year, the Redbirds finished in the top 16 in the state, continuing a tradition unmatched by any small school in the state of Illinois.

Senior Will Koehrsen wrapped up his sensational senior year with a top 12 finish in the 128-player singles bracket, earning second team all-state honors.  Will won his first three matches in the main draw on Thursday, including a strange 0-6, 6-0, 6-1 third round match against a talented player from Glenbard West.  After dropping a round of 16 tilt against the eventual third place finisher, Will rebounded to win two more matches in the back draw to become Metamora’s first ever player in the singles competition to make it to Saturday at the state meet.  His run ended Saturday morning with a loss to the eventual sixth place finisher, but his top 12 standing is certainly one to be very proud of.

Senior Mitchell Nguyen also had a nice state meet, winning two matches in the main draw on Thursday.  Both matches were won in three sets, including the second round battle in which Mitchell fought off numerous match points before winning 7-5 in the third set.  He dropped his third round match against the tournament’s number three seed, and lost Friday morning in the back draw to a good player from Lisle Benet.  Mitchell finished 33rd-48th in the 128 player draw, a very satisfying culmination to an excellent career as a Redbird.

Freshman Fletcher Koehrsen was joined by senior Trevor Lewandowski in the doubles draw after sophomore Ryan Willard was injured in the sectional championship match and was unable to compete at the state meet.  The newly formed Redbird duo won a match in the back draw and lost another in three sets in a very good showing.

Hinsdale Central, Lake Forest, and New Trier claimed the three team trophies, while both Morton and Metamora represented the Mid-Illini Conference in the top twenty.  Congratulations to the Redbird state qualifiers for another excellent state tournament!

Sectional Championship for Redbirds

2014 Sectional Champs

2014 IHSA Sectional Champions 

Dunlap (5/26/14) – Metamora’s 2014 tennis team captured the ninth sectional title in program history by dominating the field at the IHSA Dunlap Sectional.  The Redbirds piled up 29 points, easily outdistancing second place Richwoods (18) and third place Dunlap (16).  It was Metamora’s seventh sectional plaque in the last eight years.

Senior Will Koehrsen set another Metamora record, winning his fourth consecutive sectional title, something no other Redbird has ever achieved.  After capturing last year’s title in doubles, Will won his third singles crown via a 6-3, 6-0 win over Dunlap freshman Victor Spolidorio in the finals.  Will improved his singles record on the year to 30-1 and finished his third straight year of being undefeated in all of downstate Illinois.

Sophomore Ryan Willard and freshman Fletcher Koehrsen had a terrific tournament together, advancing all the way to the finals before Willard was injured near the beginning of the championship match and had to default.  The duo recorded straight-set wins over Pontiac, Dunlap, and Notre Dame prior to the finals.  Their run to the finals made 2014 the ninth straight year Metamora had a doubles team in the sectional championship.

Senior Mitchell Nguyen, the defending sectional singles champion, finished third.  After two routine matches qualified him for the state meet, he ran into Spolidorio, dropping a hard-fought match in the semi-finals.  Mitchell rebounded in the third place match, cruising past Notre Dame’s Michael Kolbus.

Metamora’s second doubles team, seniors Tyler Ngo and Nick Becker, won a thrilling first-round match 6-4 in the third set over Notre Dame.  They were beaten soundly, however, by Pontiac in the qualifying round and did not advance to the state meet.

Overall, getting the sectional plaque back was very satisfying for this group of Redbirds.  Congratulations to all!

Metamora Captures Mid-Illini Title


2014 M-I Champs

2014 Mid-Illini Conference Champions 

Metamora (5/19/14) – The 2014 Mid-Illini tennis season drew to a close with the conference tournament, held at MTHS on May 19.  Metamora dominated the event, winning titles in all four flights, to clinch the tournament and overall league championship.

Senior Will Koehrsen won his fourth consecutive title at #1 singles, becoming only the second player in league history to do so.  In the final, he battled Morton senior Grant Reiman, winning a spirited 6-4, 6-3 match against another of the conference’s all-time greats.  Will is the only player to ever complete four conference dual seasons and tournaments unbeaten at the #1 position, and his legacy in this league will be difficult to ever duplicate.  The #1 singles title was Metamora’s fifth straight in that bracket.

Sophomore Ryan Willard captured the crown at #2 singles, winning the final over Morton sophomore Troy Hohulin, 6-0, 7-5.  Willard improved his singles record on the year to 16-2.  The title at #2 singles was also Metamora’s fifth consecutive at that position.

Senior Mitchell Nguyen and freshman Fletcher Koehrsen rolled to the #1 doubles title, beating Morton’s Trent Reiman and Kyle King, 6-3, 6-1 in the championship match.  It was Nguyen’s fourth straight conference title, winning two in singles and two in doubles.  Koehrsen became the third freshman in school history to capture #1 doubles at that age (Stephan Rauh and Mitchell Nguyen were the others).  It was Metamora’s fifth title in the last six years at the #1 doubles spot.

Finally, seniors Tyler Ngo and Nick Becker played their way to a title at #2 doubles, defeating Morton’s Chandler Stimpert and Mason Plotner, 6-3, 6-2 in the finals.  The Redbird duo looked very sharp in winning Metamora’s first title at this position since 2010.

Overall, the Redbird tennis team acquitted itself as well as it possibly could on a very windy day of competition.  Despite challenges from several other teams and individuals, Metamora tennis players stood tall at the end of the day, winning all six of the conference medals.

Congratulations to all on a well-earned conference championship!!!

Random stats:

  • the league title is Metamora’s ninth all-time, eighth in the last twelve years, and seventh in the last eight years.
  • Metamora and Morton have met in the last 16 finals (all four finals each of the last four years).
  • Metamora has been in 28 straight finals (all four flights seven straight years).
  • The Redbirds have won the tournament or tied for first place eight straight years.

Redbirds Cruise to Ottawa Invite Championship

 

2014 OTTAWA CHAMPS
2014 Ottawa Invite Team Champions

Ottawa (4/26/14) – The 2014 Redbird tennis team captured another tournament title, this time rolling to the Ottawa Invitational team championship.  The dual match tournament consisted of three rounds, and Metamora defeated each of its opponents 5-0.

First, Metamora battled DeKalb, winning each of the five matches without dropping more than two games.  Will Koehrsen and Mitchell Nguyen handled the singles dutes, while the teams of Fletcher Koehrsen / Ryan Willard, Tyler Ngo / Trevor Lewandowski, and Michael Doublin / Brendan Axelson took care of the doubles matches.

In the second match, the Redbirds defeated Rockford Boylan, 5-0.  Boylan had won the last two Ottawa Invite titles, narrowly slipping past the Redbirds (3-2) each year.  This time, however, the Redbird group was firing on all cylinders.  Nguyen and Willard each won 6-0, 6-0 singles matches to get things rolling.  The Koehrsen brothers withstood a significant challenge at #1 doubles, turning an early 3-1 deficit into a 6-4, 6-0 victory over a talented Boylan duo.  Ngo and Lewandowski breezed through a 6-0 first set before gutting out a 7-6 second.  Doublin and Axelson rallied from 6-2, 5-2 down to capture a very satisfying 2-6, 7-5, 12-10 win at #3 doubles, showing great determination and a never give up mentality.

In the last round, Metamora defeated Rock Island Alleman, 5-0.  Will Koehrsen had the stiffest challenge, playing an inspired Mark McLaughlin.  Will was able to prevail, 6-2, 6-4, despite the valiant shot-making of his talented opponent.  Nguyen cruised to a 6-2, 6-0 win at #2 singles, dropping his only two games of the day.  Willard and Fletcher Koehrsen looked very good in their 6-0, 6-2 win at #1 doubles, while each of the other two doubles duos played one great set and one close set in their wins.

Overall, it was a terrific day to be a Redbird tennis player.  Metamora players compiled a record of 15-0 on the day and captured a third tournament championship on the season.  Congratulations!

Metamora, St. Charles North Champs of Bloomington 16-Team Invite

 

2014 BLOOMINGTON CHAMPS 3

2014 Bloomington Purple & Gold Team Champions

Bloomington (4/12/14) – Metamora’s tennis team competed for the fourth Saturday in a row, this time at the 16-team Purple & Gold Invite hosted by Bloomington High School.  The Redbirds racked up 33 points, good enough for a first place tie with St. Charles North.  SCN had to rally from a 6-4, 5-2 deficit in the day’s final match to earn the tie with the Redbirds.

Will Koehrsen capped a ridiculous Purple & Gold career with his fourth consecutive championship at #1 singles, obliterating the field along the way.  After defeating quality players from Tinley Park Andrew, Central Catholic, and St. Charles North, he stepped it up one final notch against Rockford Christian’s Brandon Ancona.  After dropping the first game of the match, he won twelve consecutive games to win 6-1, 6-0.  The class of the field for the past four years, Will ended his 16-0 Purple & Gold career in style, earning high praise from all who witnessed the display of tennis in the championship match.

Mitchell Nguyen also had a terrific day, routing the field at #2 singles on the way to his second Purple & Gold title (#1 doubles last year).  After cruising through the first three rounds, he found himself up against Champaign Centennial’s Max Zheng in the final.  After a long first five games that found Zheng ahead 3-2, Nguyen found his rhythm, winning the last ten games in a row to earn the title, 6-3, 6-0.  The Redbird senior improved his singles record to 13-0 for the 2014 campaign.

  

2014 BLOOMINGTON MITCHELL WILL COACH

Mitchell Nguyen, Coach Willard, Will Koehrsen

Metamora’s three doubles teams all had similar days.  Each won two rounds to reach the semi-finals, but each dropped its last two matches to finish fourth.

Ryan Willard and Fletcher Koehrsen played #1 doubles and earned an upset win in the quarters over the tournament’s #4 seed from Champaign Centennial.  After playing a good semi-final against Normal Community, the pair ran out of steam in the third place match, falling to U-High.

Tyler Ngo and Nick Becker held down the #2 doubles spot.  After two routine wins, they were overmatched by the Totten brothers from U-High in the semis.  A winnable third place match slipped away, as Normal Community’s duo handled the windy conditions better than the Redbird pair.

Michael Doublin and Trevor Lewandowski played #3 doubles for the Redbirds.  The pair almost pulled an upset in the semi-finals over St. Charles North, falling in a third set tie-break.  They were also unable to recover, falling in the third place match to Champaign Centennial.

The tournament title was Metamora’s third in the last four years in Bloomington, only missing a four-peat by a single point last year.  Congratulations to all Redbird players on another tournament title!

Redbirds Defend Red & White Invite Title
 

2014 RED & WHITE CHAMPS

2014 Red & White Team Champions

Peoria (3/29/14) – The 2014 Red & White Invitational was moved to The Clubs at River City due to a less than stellar forecast.  The play indoors was hot, as Metamora’s tennis team successfully defended its 2013 tournament title with three dual match victories.

In the first round of the team format event, Metamora played Teutopolis.  The Wooden Shoes always have competitive tennis teams, but the Redbird bunch was too talented, prevailing 5-0.  In the two singles, three doubles format, Metamora played Will Koehrsen and Mitchell Nguyen in singles and the doubles duos of Ryan Willard / Fletcher Koehrsen, Tyler Ngo / Trevor Lewandowski, and Michael Doublin / Brendan Axelson.  Each Metamora entrant won in straight sets.

The semi-final brought Peoria Notre Dame.  Nguyen played #1 singles, recording a nice win over Notre Dame’s Michael Kolbus, 6-2, 6-3.  Lewandowski dropped a third set tie-break at #2 singles.  The Koehrsen brothers cruised at #1 doubles, while Ngo / Willard and Doublin / Axelson also won in straight sets.

In the championship round, Metamora faced Barrington.  The Broncos narrowly won the tournament in their first two trips (winning the final match on the courts in both 2010 and 2012 to win the event), while Metamora had won in 2013.  The 2014 battle was close as well, with Metamora able to secure three victories for the repeat tournament championship.  Will Koehrsen dominated his talented opponent at #1 singles, winning 6-0, 6-2.  Mitchell Nguyen and Fletcher Koehrsen cruised to a 6-1, 6-4 win at #1 doubles.  Metamora’s #2 and #3 doubles teams were beaten, so the last match on would decide the champion.  Ryan Willard prevailed 7-6(5), 6-2 at #2 singles over his Barrington counterpart to secure the title for the Redbirds.

Champaign Centennial defeated Notre Dame for 3rd place, while Teutopolis rebounded with two wins, beating Chatham-Glenwood for 5th place.  Rockford Guilford and Dunlap were both 0-2 on the day.

Congratulations to all on a well-played tournament.  It is always nice to get a tournament title early in the season.  Good luck to all during the remainder of 2014.

Indoor Event Kicks off 2014 Season

INDOOR 1 - RYAN HANDSHAKE - Copy - Copy INDOOR 2 - WILL FOREHAND - Copy - Copy INDOOR 3 - MITCHELL FOREHAND - Copy - Copy
INDOOR 4 - FLETCHER VOLLEY - Copy - Copy INDOOR 7 - RYAN AND FLETCHER DOUBLES INDOOR 15 - TREVOR FOREHAND

 

 INDOOR 16 - TYLER VOLLEY INDOOR 11 - MITCHELL SERVE INDOOR 20 - MICHAEL FOREHAND

 

Peoria (3/22/14) – Metamora’s 2014 tennis team took the courts for the first time over the weekend in the annual indoor event at The Clubs at River City.  This year, the Redbirds were joined by New Trier, Edwardsville, Moline, and Springfield in the high-quality event.In round one, Metamora battled Moline.  The Maroons have captured 28 sectional titles in the last 30 years, including the last 7 in a row.  Metamora played very well for the first match of the season, defeating Moline in three of the four positions.  Senior Mitchell Nguyen and sophomore Ryan Willard won singles matches for the Redbirds, while senior Will Koehrsen and his freshman brother, Fletcher, won a doubles match.  Nguyen won a tight match at #1, 6-3, 7-5, while Willard also prevailed in a close contest at #2, 5-7, 6-2, 10-4.  The Koehrsen brothers beat a team consisting of a returning top 16 doubles seed and a returning two-time singles state qualifier, 7-6, 6-3.  Seniors Tyler Ngo and Trevor Lewandowski were defeated at #2 doubles, 6-3, 6-3.

In the second round, Metamora’s team faced Edwardsville in singles and Springfield in doubles.  Edwardsville has won 13 straight sectional championships and finished 6th in the state of Illinois last year.  Will Koehrsen played a terrific match at #1 singles, beating a top 16 state seed from last year, 7-5, 3-6, 6-4.  Nguyen also played brilliantly, capturing a 6-4, 6-3 win over a very good player.  Willard and Fletcher Koehrsen made their doubles debut and looked impressive in a 6-2, 6-1 win at #1, while Ngo and Lewandowski rebounded from their opening loss to record a 6-1, 6-1 triumph.

The third round brought singles matches against Springfield and doubles contests with New Trier.  New Trier has won twenty state tennis championships in school history and finished 4th last year.  The #1 doubles contest against the Trevians was full of high quality shot-making but resulted in a Redbird loss.  Will Koehrsen and Mitchell Nguyen dropped the match after two hours of great tennis, 6-2, 6-4.  At #2, Fletcher Koehrsen and Ryan Willard played a terrific first set but found themselves on the short end of a 7-5, 6-1 score.  In singles, Tyler Ngo and Trevor Lewandowski both recorded easy wins over their Springfield counterparts.

Metamora won 9 of 12 matches on the day against rugged competition.  This early season competition helps sharpen match skills and serves as a reminder that there are a whole bunch of quality players in the state of Illinois.  Congratulations to all on a great first weekend, and good luck to New Trier, Edwardsville, Moline, and Springfield during the rest of 2014!

Pre-Season Singles Tournament Kicks off 2014 Season

 

Pre-Season 2014

Peoria (3/2/14) – Forty-two entrants played a double elimination singles tournament at The Clubs at River City over the weekend, gearing up for the 2014 high school season.  Twelve of the participants were Metamora players, and many of the twelve had great success.

Senior Will Koehrsen won his third straight title at the event, blasting through the field without dropping more than 3 games in any set.  His last three rounds were wins over Zach Settelmyer (Richwoods), Sam Totten (U-High), and Victor Spolidorio (Dunlap).  Will won the final, 6-3, 6-2, capping off a successful tournament with a very impressive display of high-level tennis.Senior Mitchell Nguyen finished fourth, losing to Spolidorio and Totten on the tournament’s final day.  Sophomore Ryan Willard finished 6th; after losing to Settelmyer in the round of 16, he battled through the back draw to reach the final, where he again lost to Settelmyer.  Senior Nick Becker finished in the 9th-12th place group, dropping his final match of the tournament to Notre Dame’s Michael Kolbus.

Other Redbirds posting at least one win in the event were seniors Tyler Ngo and Michael Doublin, sophomore Brendan Axelson, and freshman Bobby Kessler.

Final results were:  1st – Koehrsen (Met), 2nd – Spolidorio (Dun), 3rd – Totten (U-H), 4th – Nguyen (Met), 5th – Settelmyer (Rich), 6th – Willard (Met), 7th – Kolbus (ND), 8th – Han (Dun).

Congratulations to all and good luck with the 2014 season!

2014 Mid-Illini Boys Tennis Preview

Metamora (12/20/13) – The 2014 Mid-Illini boys tennis season is quickly approaching.  The conference has turned into one of the great tennis leagues in downstate Illinois, and the 2014 race for the conference crown should be fierce.

Last year, Morton ended Metamora’s all-time Mid-Illini record six-year conference championship streak.  The two powers tied at the conference tournament, but Morton won the dual match between the two to win the tie-breaker.  The Redbirds, however, continued their post-season streak of successful state meets, finishing 14th in the single class event.  The league had excellent success at state last year, as five conference schools won matches at Illinois’ biggest tournament.  Metamora’s Will Koehrsen and Christoph Goettler became the first medalists in league history, finishing 6th in doubles.  They were named first team all-state in honor of their accomplishment.  Morton’s Grant and Trent Reiman finished in the top 12 in doubles to earn second team all-state honors.  Other M-I players that won matches at state included Mitchell Nguyen (Metamora), Derek Rineberg (Pekin), Brett Grimes and Bryan Kinas (Washington), and Calen Crim (East Peoria).

In 2014, the Mid-Illini will again have more than its share of outstanding players.  Metamora’s Koehrsen (SR) and Nguyen (SR) and Morton’s Reiman twins (SRs) will lead the way.  However, there will be plenty of other talented players in the conference as well.  None will be as impactful as Dunlap freshman Victor Spolidorio.  He will immediately be in the conversation for the area’s best player.  Another significant returnee is Morton’s Chandler Stimpert (JR), one of the area’s most dedicated players.  Metamora, Limestone, and Dunlap return several other letter winners and Pekin returns one top player, while East Peoria and Washington graduated the bulk of their teams.

Metamora’s six-year sectional streak was snapped in 2013, but the Redbirds will look to begin another one in 2014.  It appears that Richwoods and Dunlap may provide the stiffest competition in the Peoria Sectional.  Morton was the sectional champ in Bloomington last year, and the Potters will try to continue their sectional domination again this year, battling strong teams from Normal Community and Normal U-High.

(Metamora has been unranked)
Predicted M-I Finish Last Year’s Result Last 5 Years
Metamora (Kelly Willard – 17th year)
15-5 (2nd)
96-13
1. Morton (Joal Stanfield – 10th)
16-3 (1st)
66-23
2. Dunlap (Pat Gornik – 3rd) 6-9 (5th) 43-46
3. Pekin (Pat Lowder – 2nd)
5-6 (4th)
36-22
4. Limestone (Martin Trainor – 1st)
3-9 (7th)
15-52
5. Washington (Dave Krostal – 14th)
3-9 (6th)
23-36
6. East Peoria (Shane Smith – 13th)
5-3 (3rd)
24-28
MORTON
Coached By:
  • Joal Stanfield (10th year – record of 111-33)
Long Gone:
  • Taylor Nave – three-time all-conference, four-time state qualifier, Mid-Illini doubles champion (#2 – 2012, 2011), Mid-Illini singles runner-up (#2 – 2013).
  • Jonah Laktas – two-time 2nd team all-conference, three-time state qualifier, Mid-Illini doubles champion (2013), Mid-Illini doubles runner-up (2012), Mid-Illini doubles champion (#2 – 2011).
  • Andrew Payne – 2nd team all-conference, Mid-Illini doubles champion (#2 – 2013).
  • Jacob Bernier.
Returning for More:
  • Grant Reiman (SR) – three-time all-conference, three-time state qualifier, Mid-Illini doubles champion (2013), Mid-Illini singles runner-up (2011, 2012), two-time sectional doubles champion (2013, 2012), sectional doubles runner-up (2011), two-time second team all-state (2013, 2012).
  • Trent Reiman (SR) – three-time all-conference, three-time state qualifier, Mid-Illini singles runner-up (2013), Mid-Illini singles runner-up (#2 – 2012, 2011), two-time sectional doubles champion (2013, 2012), sectional doubles runner-up (2011), two-time second team all-state (2013, 2012).
  • Chandler Stimpert (JR) – two-time 2nd team all-conference, Mid-Illini doubles champion (#2 – 2013), state qualifier.
Potter Outlook:

Morton ended Metamora’s reign atop the Mid-Illini Conference last year and will look to repeat in 2014 led by the dynamic twin duo of seniors Grant and Trent Reiman.  They finished in the top 12 at the state meet last year for the second consecutive time and will undoubtedly have loftier goals in 2014.  Junior Chandler Stimpert had a terrific sophomore year and looks to be a breakout superstar player in 2014.  The Potters graduated the rest of their 2013 varsity squad, so their fortunes may depend largely on how quickly the new bottom half of their line-up lives up to Potter standards.The Potters have captured nine sectional titles in the last decade, but the sledding may be tougher in 2014, as both Normal Community and Normal U-High will have strong teams.

Interesting Facts:
  • Morton and Metamora have combined to win the last twelve Mid-Illini titles.
  • The Potters finished 4th in the Mid-Illini in 2010.  Since then, however, they have only lost one conference dual match.
  • Trent Reiman will try to add a Mid-Illini individual title to his resume in 2014.  He has finished 2nd three times (#2 singles in 2011 and 2012 and #1 singles in 2013).
DUNLAP
Coached By:
  • Pat Gornik (3rd year – record of 15-17)

Long Gone:

  • Jadin Dam, CT Castor.
Returning for More:
  • Ethan Dam (JR), Joshua Han (JR), Chris France (SR), Brogan Reitz (SR).

Important Newcomer:

Victor Spolidorio.

Eagle Outlook:

The Dunlap Eagles will likely return toward the top of the Mid-Illini Conference in 2014.  Last year’s 1-5 conference record, an all-time worst for the program, will certainly provide motivation for the returning Eagles.  Dunlap welcomes a new star to its line-up in 2014, freshman Victor Spolidorio.  In addition, the Eagles return four of their top six players from a year ago.  This returning depth should allow Dunlap to challenge Metamora and Morton for conference supremacy.
Interesting Facts
  • Prior to 2010, Dunlap had never lost to any Mid-Illini opponent other than Metamora or Morton. In the last four seasons, the Eagles have also been defeated by Pekin (three times), Washington (twice), and East Peoria (once).
  • Dunlap finished sixth in the 1999 state tournament, the highest finish ever for a Mid-Illini Conference school.  It was the Eagles’ first year in the league.
  • Dunlap has not had a head coach for longer than three years since the program’s initial leader, Carla Ivers.  Pat Gornik is Dunlap’s seventh head coach since 2000.
WASHINGTON
Coached By:
  • Dave Krostal (14th year – record of 70-112)

Long Gone:

  • Brett Grimes  two-time 2nd team all-conference, two-time state qualifier.
  • Bryan Kinas – two-time all-conference, two-time state qualifier.
  • Tyler Johnson, Chad Cagle.
Returning for More:
  • Conner Davis (SR), Josh Whitworth (SR).

Panther Outlook:

After years of Bryan Kinas and Brett Grimes heading the Panther line-up, coach Dave Krostal needs to find new leaders in 2014.  Four of Washington’s top six players graduated.  The Panthers, sixth in the league a year ago, have a lot of replacing to do to be competitive in the Mid-Illini Conference this season.

Interesting Facts:
  • Washington defeated Dunlap for the first time in school history in 2011 and did it again in 2013. The Panthers are now 2-84 against Metamora, Morton, and Dunlap since 1994.
  • Kinas and Grimes won two matches at the state meet last year, one in the main draw and one in the back draw.  They scored three team points for Washington, allowing the Panthers to tie for 67th as a team at the state meet.  Mid-Illini entries won a total of 19 matches at the state meet last year, with Metamora (8) and Morton (6) leading the way.
EAST PEORIA
Coached By:
  • Shane Smith (13th year – record of 51-88)

Long Gone:

  • Calen Crim – all-conference, two-time state qualifier, Mid-Illini doubles runner-up (2011), Mid-Illini doubles champion (#2 – 2012), sectional singles runner-up (2013).
  • Jake Ellis – 2nd team all-conference, state qualifier.
  • Jared Kahl, Eli Dixon, Ty Denham, Ryan Johnson.
Returning for More:
  • Braden Uppole.
Raider Outlook:
East Peoria had its best team in decades in 2013 but graduated all six of its top players from a year ago.  The task in 2014 will be to rebuild a line-up that can be competitive in the Mid-Illini Conference.  Thirteenth year coach Shane Smith will have his work cut out for him to replace last year’s group, which included three kids that were state qualifiers during their time at EPCHS.
Interesting Facts:
  • East Peoria’s third place finish in the Mid-Illini Conference last year was its highest of the 21st century.  
  • The Raiders’ 6-3 win over Dunlap in 2013 was the program’s first ever victory over the Eagles.  East Peoria has not defeated Metamora or Morton since 1994.
PEKIN
Coached By:
  • Pat Lowder (2nd year)

Long Gone:

  • Derek Rineberg – three-time all-conference, four-time state qualifier, sectional singles champion (2011, 2012), Mid-Illini singles runner-up (2010).
  • Cole Pyatt.

Returning for More:

  • Timmy Latronico, Mitchell McCafferty, Isaac Arsenau, Sam Mallick.
  • Timmy Latronico, Jake Melissant, Cole Pyatt.

Dragon Outlook:

For the first time since 2009, Pekin’s line-up will not be headed by Derek Rineberg.  The Dragons will rely on the senior leadership of Timmy Latronico to help guide them in 2014.  Even though Rineberg graduated, the Dragons had only one other senior in the top six a year ago, so experience will be a plus for this group.  Second-year coach Pat Lowder should have a group that will be able to compete for a top three finish in the Mid-Illini.

Interesting Fact:

  • Pekin is the only school other than Metamora and Dunlap to defeat Morton in the last 19 seasons (the Dragons won an 8-1 contest in 2010).
LIMESTONE
Coached By:
  • Martin Traynor (1st year)

Long Gone:

  • None.

Returning for More:

  • Drew Hillman, Andrew Chiaravalle, Holden Robbins, Cody Rogers, Chris Predmore, Tim Fiddes.

Rocket Outlook:

Limestone returns all six of its players who ended the 2013 season in the varsity line-up. The Rockets are 1-61 in Mid-Illini matches over the last nine years but hope to find a way to get on the winning side of a Mid-Illini match in 2014.  The Rockets’ top doubles team of Drew Hillman and Andrew Chiaravalle has a realistic chance of qualifying for the state tournament.

Interesting Facts:

  • Despite its struggles within the league, the Rockets are 28-34 over the last nine years in non-conference matches.
  • Limestone last finished above .500 in 2002, when the Rockets were 7-6 overall, 4-6 in the Mid-Illini Conference.
  • Limestone has never defeated Metamora, Morton, or Dunlap.
METAMORA
Coached By:
  • Kelly Willard (17th year – record of 227-51)

Long Gone:

  • Christoph Goettler – two-time all-conference, three-time state qualifier, Mid-Illini doubles champion (2012), Mid-Illini doubles runner-up (2013), Mid-Illini doubles runner-up (#2 – 2011), sectional doubles champion (2012, 2013), sectional doubles runner-up (2011), first team all-state (doubles – 2013), third team all-state (doubles – 2012).
  • Caleb Neumann – second team all-conference, Mid-Illini doubles runner-up (2013), Mid-Illini doubles runner-up (#2 – 2012).

Returning for More:

  • Will Koehrsen – three-time all-conference, three-time state qualifier, Mid-Illini singles champion (2011, 2012, 2013), sectional singles champion (2011, 2012), sectional doubles champion (2013), first team all-state (doubles – 2013), honorable mention all-state (singles – 2011, 2012), Peoria Journal Star Player of the Year – 2011, 2012, 2013.
  • Mitchell Nguyen – three-time all-conference, three-time state qualifier, Mid-Illini doubles champion (2011), Mid-Illini singles champion (#2 – 2012, 2013), sectional singles champion (2013), sectional doubles champion (2011), sectional singles runner-up (2012).
  • Ryan Willard – Mid-Illini doubles runner-up (#2 – 2013).
  • Nick Becker – Mid-Illini doubles runner-up (#2 – 2013).
  • Tyler Ngo – second team all-conference, state qualifier, sectional doubles runner-up (2011), Mid-Illini doubles runner-up (#2 – 2011, 2012).
  • Trevor Lewandowski, Michael Doublin, Justin McCoy, Brendan Axelson.

Important Newcomer:

Fletcher Koehrsen.
Redbird Outlook:

Metamora will be a senior dominated team in 2014, with seven seniors on the roster.  Three-time Peoria Journal Star Player of the Year Will Koehrsen returns for his final season, and reigning sectional singles champion Mitchell Nguyen returns as well.  The Redbirds have finished in the state’s top 15 the last four years and will look to continue that staggering streak in 2014.  Seven additional returning letter winners will take the courts for MTHS, as the Redbird squad should be very deep and talented.  After narrowly missing seventh straight Mid-Illini and sectional titles in 2013, look for a hungry Redbird team to set its sights on starting new streaks this spring.

Interesting Facts:

  • Metamora players have captured eight straight sectional doubles titles and four straight singles crowns.  
  • In the first sixteen years of tennis at MTHS (1986-2001), the Redbirds had zero sectional titles.  Since 2002, Metamora has earned 24 sectional titles (7 singles, 9 doubles, 8 team).