PJStar Articles 13 14 15

2015, 2014 and 2013 Articles

2015 Peoria Journal Star Articles

Richwoods Aces Dunlap Tennis Sectional – 5/23/15
Re-Tooled Redbirds Courting Next Crown – 5/21/15
Metamora Flies High at M-I Tennis Tournament – 5/18/15
Mid-Illini Tennis Starting at Deuce – 4/1/15

2014 Peoria Journal Star Articles

A Fourth, Of Course (Will Koehrsen Player of the Year) – 6/17/14
Morton Tennis Duo, Redbirds’ Koehrsen Still in Tournament – 5/31/14
Sweet 16s for Trio of Area Players – 5/30/14
Seeking More Senior Moments at State Tennis Finals – 5/29/14
Metamora Aces Tennis Sectionals
– 5/25/14
Metamora Tennis Perfect in Mid-Illini – 5/20/14
Metamora Tennis Team Has Deep Well of Talent – 4/2/14

2013 Peoria Journal Star Articles

Will Koehrsen Awarded 2013 JS Boys Tennis Player of the Year – 6/13/13
Metamora Tennis Duo Finishes Sixth at IHSA State Tournament – 5/26/13
Doubles Teams from Metamora, Morton Advance to State Quarterfinals – 5/25/13
Metamora’s Goettler and Koehrsen, Morton’s Reiman Brothers in Main Draw – 5/24/13
Doubles Teams Get 5-8 Seeds at IHSA Boys Tennis Tournament – 5/22/13
Richwoods Ends Birds’ 6-Year Run – 5/19/13
Area Boys Tennis Teams Stepping Up to Sectionals – 5/17/13
Potters Unseat Six-Time Defending Tennis Champs – 5/11/13
44 – 5/7/13
Wealth of Boys Tennis Talent Returns – 3/27/13

2015

The Journal Star – Peoria, IL

May 23, 2015

Richwoods Aces Dunlap Tennis Sectional

By Josh Wessler

DUNLAP — It was all Knights, all day Saturday at the Dunlap boys tennis sectional.

A pair of quarterfinal upsets helped set the stage for the Knights, with Mitchell Zagardo and the doubles tandem of Carson Maris and Arpit Sahll each knocking off seeded opponents on Friday to give Richwoods a four-point cushion heading into Saturday.

With participants in all four division semi-final matches, the Knights were able to secure the top spot before the championship round began.  By day’s end, Richwoods had a representative in all eight matches played, including both division finals, and had racked up 32 team points.  Dunlap took second with 24, followed by Metamora with 18 points.

“It’s a good feeling,” said Richwoods junior Zach Settelmyer, who won the doubles title with classmate Kiran Patel-O’Connor.

“It’s awesome to get everybody to state,” Settelmyer said.  “Me and Kiran and Alex (Cheng) were expecting to make it, but Mitchell getting there is really good.  And Arpit and Carson pulling out the win yesterday was really important.”

Dunlap sophomore Victor Spolidorio won the singles championship, defeating Cheng 6-0, 6-0 in the final.

A second-place finisher in last year’s tournament, Spolidorio held the top seed with ease, losing just two games on his way to claiming the crown.

“Feels good to win,” Spolidorio said.  “It was a good day.”

The doubles final provided a bit more tension, though you wouldn’t have known it based on Patel-O’Connor and Settelmyer’s calm demeanor in their 6-3, 6-4 victory over Metamora’s second-seeded duo of Ryan Willard and Fletcher Koehrsen.

“I felt like it was a close match the whole time,” Patel-O’Connor said.  “We got a couple of breaks towards the end of each set that made a difference.”

The Redbirds opened the match by breaking the Knights’ serve to go up 1-0, but Richwoods broke right back to even things up.  Strong play at the net prevented the Redbirds from gaining momentum, with both Settelmyer and Patel-O’Connor punishing their opponents’ mistakes on several key points.

“We try to finish a lot of points at the net.  It’s been our strategy all year and it’s been working pretty well,” Settelmyer said.  “We really just tried to play our game.  We knew we could match up pretty well as long as we were doing what we needed to do we thought we’d come out on top.”

The Journal Star – Peoria, IL

May 21, 2015

Re-tooled Redbirds Courting Next Crown

By Josh Wessler

METAMORA — For the better part of the last decade, the Metamora boys tennis team hasn’t had to deal with too many losses.

Winners of eight of the last nine MId-Illini Conference titles and seven sectional titles since 2007, the Redbirds have consistently been the area’s top program.

In fact, from 2006 to 2014, Metamora averaged 17 dual wins a season while picking up stacks of tournament titles along the way.

There was, however, one loss that the Redbirds could not avoid, and it wasn’t on the court.

“We graduated 557 match victories last year,” said Metamora coach Kelly Willard, who has guided the Redbirds to 18 winning seasons since taking over for Ron Kiesewetter in 1998.

“This year’s guys knew they were not going to be last year’s guys, but they decided early on that they would work and listen and work some more and become a very good team by season’s end.”

And that they did.  Despite fielding a team with more inexperience than experience at the varsity level, the Redbirds went 19-6 during the dual meet season.

A 5-4 loss to Dunlap during an M-I dual meet put the Redbirds a point behind in the league standings, but a winning performance at the conference tournament helped them edge their rivals by a half-point for the overall title.

Without a certified ace to challenge Dunlap sophomore Victor Spolidorio for the No. 1 singles title, the Redbirds instead won the other three divisions to take the crown, showcasing the program’s trademark depth and versatility.

It might take more of the same and then some to pull off a repeat at this weekend’s Dunlap Sectional, where plenty of determined foes will be gunning for their throne, but, then again, the Redbirds have succeeded in tougher spots.

“We just have some kids that are determined to work and work and work until they are good enough to compete,” Willard said.  “Our guys will battle and battle until someone has defeated them.  You will not question our effort.”

The Journal Star – Peoria, IL

May 18, 2015

Metamora Flies High at M-I Tennis Tournament

By Journal Star Staff

PEKIN — To the victor go the spoils, and to Victor Spolidorio went the No. 1 singles title Monday at Mid-Illini Conference boys tennis tournament.

But, for the eighth time in nine years, the conference title went to Metamora.

Winning three of the four divisions and placing third in the other, the Redbirds racked up enough points to take the tournament title over second-place Dunlap.  The points earned by the victory gave Metamora a half-point (15.5 to 15) edge over the Eagles in the final conference standings.

Dunlap, which took a one-point lead into the tournament following a 6-0 run in league dual matches, had representatives competing in three of the four division finals but only managed to win one with Spolidorio defeating Morton’s Chandler Stimpert 6-2, 6-2 in the No. 1 singles final.

Morton took third in both the tournament and final standings, which mirrored the tournament finish with Pekin placing fourth, Washington fifth, East Peoria sixth and Limestone seventh.

The Eagles and Redbirds squared off in both doubles finals, with Metamora taking both divisions without dropping a set.

Fletcher Koehrsen and Carsten Boast took the title in the No. 1 doubles division, with teammates Brendan Axelson and Joel Sutter winning the No. 2 title.

Cameron Doerr won the No. 2 singles title for the Redbirds.

The Journal Star – Peoria, IL

April 1, 2015

Mid-Illini Tennis Starting at Deuce

By Josh Wessler

PEORIA — Opportunity is knocking in the Mid-Illini Conference.

For the first time in a long time, the Metamora boys tennis team is not considered the heavy favorite to win the league crown.

Gone is four-time Journal Star Player of the Year Will Koehrsen, whose four consecutive No. 1 singles titles provided the catalyst for a Redbirds run of three league titles in four years.

Also gone is Mitchell Nguyen whose efforts gave Metamora an ace up its sleeve in tournament play and was critical in extending a Redbirds reign that has yielded seven M-I titles in eight seasons.

All told, the Redbirds graduated a group of seniors that turned in more than 500 match victories that includes a stockpile of both conference and sectional titles, a loss that any program would find difficult to replace.

However, Metamora coach Kelly Willard isn’t ready to hit the panic button.  Neither are returning state qualifiers Ryan Willard (jr.) and Fletcher Koehrsen (so.), who will be looked to lead the Redbirds this spring.

“We graduated kids with 557 individual match wins and a whole bunch of conference and sectional titles,” Willard wrote in his preseason assessment of his team.

“The returnees have witnessed what it takes to achieve at very high levels, but it will be impossible to replace the Class of 2014.”

Perennial challenger and 2013 league champ Morton figures to be in the mix, as usual, but will be without twins Grant and Trent Reiman.  Chandler Stimpert, who won the singles title at the Pekin Sectional, is the Potters’ returning ace.

Dunlap, which was the last school outside of Morton and Metamora to win the M-I title (2002), is viewed by some as the favorite to win the league.

Sophomore Victor Spolidorio, a state qualifier in singles, is viewed by some as one of the top talents in the area, and will head the Eagles’ lineup.

“The conference as a whole lost a wealth of talent with last year’s seniors,” Dunlap coach Pat Gornik wrote in his season preview.  “Fortunately, that gives other guys the opportunity to step up and show what they can do.”

2014

The Journal Star – Peoria, IL

June 17, 2014

A Fourth, Of Course

By Josh Herman

METAMORAOne of the most successful area high school careers in nearly two decades culminated with Will Koehrsen being named Journal Star Boys Tennis Player of the Year for the fourth time.

The Metamora senior finished his stellar career with four conference and sectional titles, four all-state honors, and the best singles finish in the state finals by an area player since Galesburg’s Jason Gunther finished fourth in 1997.

“It’s been an incredible ride,” Koehrsen said.  “If you would have told me at the beginning that I’d win four Player of the Years, four sectional titles, and four times all-state, I wouldn’t have believed you.”

Koehrsen finished as the all-time leader in career wins in Metamora history with 143, demolishing the old record of 111 set by Stephan Rauh from 2007-2010.  In his four years, Koehrsen didn’t lose a single set in Mid-Illini play, playing against the opposition’s No. 1 option.

His senior season, he won his fourth Bloomington Invitational singles title, and his only singles loss outside of the state tournament came in a three-set match to Libertyville junior Ben VanDixhorn, who received a 3-4 seed at state.

“It’s a little hard to believe,” Koehrsen said while looking back at his career.  “It’s been because a lot of hard work.  It’s kind of unbelievable still.”

A Family Affair for the Koehrsens

Tennis runs all throughout the Koehrsen family.  Will’s parents, Craig and Lisa Koehrsen, are both avid tennis players, and have passed the sport down to their three children.

The youngest of the trio, Fletcher, just finished up his freshman year at Metamora and was a big part of the Redbirds’ return to the top of the conference and sectional ranks.

Will’s older sister Taylor (21 years old) was a three-time Journal Star Girls Tennis Player of the Year who played collegiate tennis at Creighton.  Taylor also served as some extra motivation for Will, who now sports one more POY award than his sister.

“Well, she hasn’t brought it up lately,” Will said of his sibling rivalry.  “Maybe she doesn’t want to talk about that.”

College at Case

Metamora’s Will Koehrsen has decided to continue his tennis and academic careers at Case Western Reserve University, a Division III private research university located in Cleveland.

Case Western’s undergraduate program ranked 37th among national universities in U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 rankings.

The school also has plenty of distinguished alumni, including gmail creator Paul Buchheit and craigslist.org founder Craig Newmark.

2014 Boys Tennis POY Finalists

Mitchell Nguyen, Metamora senior
Trent Reiman, Morton senior
Grant Reiman, Morton senior
Victor Spolidorio, Dunlap freshman
Zach Settelmyer, Richwoods sophomore

The Journal Star – Peoria, IL

May 31, 2014

Morton Tennis Duo, Redbirds’ Koehrsen Still in Tournament

By Josh Herman

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS — Three area individuals advanced to the final day of the IHSA state boys tennis tournament in the northwest suburbs of Chicago on Friday, but none will be playing for a state title.

Morton senior twins Grant and Trent Reiman advanced to the championship quarterfinals with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Lake Forest’s Greg Frauenheim and Jordan O’Kelly to start the day.

In their quarterfinal match, the No. 3-4 seed gave Michael Czlonka and James Bruning of Hinsdale Central all they could handle, but eventually fell 7-5, 2-6, 7-5.

The Reimans had set points at 5-3 and 5-4 in the first set, and led the third set 5-3, but comebacks each time from the 9-16 seed forced the twins into the consolation bracket.

Metamora senior Will Koehrsen dropped his opening match of the day, a 6-3, 6-0 decision to Brice Polender of Lake Forest, but was able to win his next two to advance to Saturday.

The 5-8 seed defeated Champaign Central’s Austin Aten 7-5, 6-1 in the consolation sixth round before knocking off Noah Rosenblat of Deerfield 4-6, 7-5, 7-5.

All three players will play consolation quarterfinal matches on Saturday.

Metamora senior Mitchell Nguyen and Dunlap freshman Victor Spolidorio each lost their first match on Friday, eliminating them from the tournament.

The Journal Star – Peoria, IL

May 30, 2014

Sweet 16s for Trio of Area Players

By Josh Herman

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS — Three Journal Star-area players are still alive for a state title after Day 1 of the IHSA state boys tennis tournament on Thursday.

Morton seniors Grant and Trent Reiman dominated their three doubles matches to advance to Friday’s championship bracket Sweet 16.

The No. 3-4 seeded twin brothers dropped just six games on the day, including a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Moline’s Pranav Puri and Justin Rumley, a 17-32 seed, in the third round.

Meatmora senior Will Koehrsen also went 3-0 on the day, but not without dropping his first set against Glen Ellyn Glenbard West’s Nate Dell, a 17-32 seed.

Koehrsen, who is a 5-8 seed, was able to find his groove, knocking off the sophomore 0-6, 6-0, 6-1 to get into the Sweet 16.

Play resumes through the quarterfianls beginning at 8 a.m. on Friday.  The semi-finals and finals will be held on Saturday.

The Journal Star – Peoria, IL

May 29, 2014

Seeking More Senior Moments at State Tennis Finals

By Josh Herman

PEORIA — This weekend’s boys tennis state finals will mark the end of one of the most successful classes the Journal Star area has seen in recent history.

Metamora senior Will Koehrsen, the reigning three-time JS Player of the Year, highlights the Class of 2014 alongside teammate Mitchell Nguyen and Morton twins Grant and Trent Reiman.

A year ago, Koehrsen teamed with then-senior Christoph Goettler for a sixth-place state medal.  It was the highest all-time state finish for a team from the Mid-Illini Conference, and tops for any JS-area team since Galesburg’s Jason Gunther finished fourth in singles in 1997.

Koehrsen and Nguyen will finish their high school careers No. 1 and 3 on Metamora’s all-time singles wins list, respectively.  The pair combined to go 233-32 in singles throughout their four years, and were 345-62 including doubles.

Koehrsen became only the second player to win four consecutive M-I No. 1 singles titles two weeks ago, and won his fourth sectional championship last week.  Nguyen has four M-I titles (two No. 2 singles, two No. 1 doubles), and won the 2013 sectional singles title and 2011 doubles championship.

Koehrsen and Nguyen joined Stephan and David Stewart as the only Metamora players to qualify for four state tournaments in their careers, and are a combined 19-12 in three state finals.

The Reimans are two-time second team all-state selections and just received the highest seed ever for a Potters finals entry, with a 3-4 seed.  They hold a career record of 13-6 at the state finals, including back-to-back Saturday appearances, bowing out in the consolation quarterfinals each of the last two years.

In 2012, the duo became the first area doubles team to advance to the final day of the state finals since Dunlap’s Jared Kunkle and Greg Davis in 2002.

The Reimans won three consecutive sectional doubles titles and were runnrs-up their freshman year.  They finished their careers as the all-time winningest players in Morton history, topping older brother Brock Reiman.

Grant and Trent were also key in ending Metamora’s six-year M-I winning streak a year ago, and led Morton to a 21-3 record in conference play in their careers.

CARRYING THE TORCH:  While one class will be playing in its last state finals this weekend, there will be plenty of area talent likely to make the trip back to the northwestern suburbs of Chicago in 2015.

Dunlap freshman Victor Spolidorio, who had Koehrsen down 3-1 in the first set of the Dunlap Sectional singles title match, earned a 17-32 seed.

Richwoods sophomores Zach Settelmyer and Alex Cheng (Dunlap Sectional doubles champions) and Morton junior Chandler Stimpert (Pekin Sectional singles champion) probably should have earned one of the 32 seeds due to their sectional victories, but it could serve as extra motivation.
The Journal Star – Peoria, IL

May 25, 2014

Metamora Aces Tennis Sectionals

By Josh Herman

DUNLAP — A year after Richwoods ended Metamora’s six-year sectional winning streak, the Redbirds boys tennis team found its place in the winner’s circle once again by taking the Dunlap Sectional title on Saturday.

The Redbirds had a first-, second- and third-place finish, accumulating 29 total points to top second-place Richwoods by 11 points.  It was Metamora’s ninth sectional title in the last 11 years.

“This is a group of seniors, not all seniors, but they have worked and worked and worked and then worked some more,” Metamora coach Kelly Willard said.  “It’s definitely fun to hold the plaque.”

The singles title wasn’t much trouble for Metamora senior Will Koehrsen.  The three-time Journal Star Boys Tennis Player of the Year lost just five games in his four matches to win his third sectional singles title to go along with a doubles championship he won last year with then-senior Christoph Goettler.

Koehrsen used his sibling rivalry with his older sister Taylor, a three-time JS Player of the Year herself, to give himself a little more motivation for the sectional.

“I had to get four because my sister got three and I had to beat her,” Koehrsen said.

The title match started out as a struggle for Koehrsen as he had trouble finding his serve en route to a 3-1 deficit in the first set against Dunlap freshman Victor Spolidorio.

The all-stater found his stride, however, winning the next 11 games to put away the less-experienced Spolidorio, 6-3, 6-0.

“I just had to rely on my experience.  I think that’s what helped me get out of that,” Koehrsen said.  “The first couple of games we really didn’t have many long rallies, so it was hard to get into a rhythm.”

“But then we started getting in some rallies and I started hitting the ball deeper and that was a big thing.  I think the experience helps too, though.”

It was a bittersweet doubles final for champions Zach Settelmyer and Alex Cheng, both Richwoods sophomores.

The top-seeded duo came in to the title match having just lost five games in their previous three matches and got off to another good start, 3-0 in the first set.

Things went from bad to worse for their opponents, Metamora freshman Fletcher Koehrsen and sophomore Ryan Willard.  The latter cam up limp after a point with a leg injury and after meeting with a trainer decided not to try his luck.

“It’s obviously not how you want it to go,” Settelmyer said.  “But I thought we were playing well and we had a good shot at it anyways.”

 

The Journal Star – Peoria, IL

May 20, 2014

Metamora Tennis Perfect in Mid-Illini

By Dave Reynolds

METAMORA — It would’ve been an upset of epic proportions.

Grant Reiman of Morton had never beaten Metamora’s Will Koehrsen in four years of high school tennis matches.

Yet here he was Monday giving Koehrsen, the three-time Mid-Illini Conference singles champion, all he wanted on Koehrsen’s home court.

“I knew I had no pressure on me, nothing to lose,” Reiman said.  “I had one last chance to take him out.”

Reiman did a good job breaking Koehrsen’s service early during the wind-swept match, clearly frustrating the Redbirds senior throughout the first set.

“We’ve had some great matches over the years,” Koehrsen said.  “I wasn’t playing very smoothly.  Once I got used to the wind, it got better.”

Koehrsen won the first set 6-4 and then captured his fourth consecutive league No. 1 singles title with a 6-3 winner.

Ironically, he joins Reiman’s older brother, Brock, as the only players to win four No. 1 singles championships in Mid-Illini history.

“I definitely didn’t play to my potential today,” Koehrsen said.  “But I’m happy with it.  It’s been a great four years.  I’m really lucky to be in this class.”

Said Metamora coach Kelly Willard:  “Will expects perfection.  On a day like this where that’s not reasonable, it got into his head a little bit.  He did play with the world on his shoulders.  I told him between sets to relax, that this was the last time you’ll play on these courts.”

The Redbirds swept all four championships Monday, recapturing the team title they lost to Morton last year after a six-year run.

For just the third time in league history, Metamora scored a perfect 28 total team points.

“Our goal was to get everybody to the finals and we met that goal,” said Morton coach Joal Stanfield.  “But Metamora’s tough.”

For the fourth year in a row, both schools met in all four championship matches.

Ryan Willard won No. 2 singles, 6-0, 7-5 over Morton’s Troy Hohulin.  The top doubles tandem of Mitchell Nguyen and Fletcher Koehrsen easily dispatched Trent Reiman and Kyle King 6-3, 6-1.

“Our energy level was very high,” said Nguyen.  “My serve was working for me.”

And the No. 2 doubles team of Nick Becker and Tyler Ngo defeated Chandler Stimpert and Mason Plotner 6-3, 6-2.

“For all these guys (from Metamora and Morton) to be around together for four years at the same time was a real treat for the fans and coaches,” said Willard.  “I had so many people tell me for the type of day this was, the quality of tennis was outstanding.”

The Journal Star – Peoria, IL

April 2, 2014

Metamora Tennis Team Has Deep Well of Talent

By Josh Herman

METAMORA — Metamora senior Will Koehrsen has already had enough accolades to fill many a trophy case.

But, the first state tennis medalist from a Mid-Illini Conference school (along with doubles partner Christoph Goettler) and three-time Journal Star Player of the Year still has one year to improve upon what has already been an impressive high school career.

Koehrsen has started the season with a 5-1 record, with his only loss coming in doubles to state tennis powerhouse Winnetka New Trier’s team of Scott and Tom Bickel.

“He is a better server than he was a year ago and he’s hitting a bigger ball than he was a year ago,” Metamora coach Kelly Willard said.  “It’s little things here and there because he was already so good at everything, but little things here and there make a big difference at that level.”

Metamora will have some power at the top of its line-up with Koehrsen and three-time state qualifier Mitchell Nguyen.  Its depth, however, may be the reason that the Redbirds get back to the top of the M-I after Morton snapped their six-year winning streak a season ago.

Joining Koehrsen and Nguyen will be coach’s sophomore son Ryan Willard and freshman Fletcher Koehrsen, Will’s younger brother.

“I feel like depth is going to be a good thing for us, and certainly strength at the top, that’s a good little combination,” Coach Willard said.  “If you’re deep and you’ve got some studs at the top you ought to be able to be successful.”

2013

The Journal Star – Peoria, IL

June 13, 2013

Metamora Junior Will Koehrsen Awarded 2013 JS Boys Tennis Player of the Year

By Josh Herman

METAMORAOnce again, the spot atop the Journal Star area high school boys tennis mountain belongs to Will Koehrsen.

The Metamora junior sustained himself as the best boys tennis player in the area, winning his third consecutive Mid-Illini Conference singles title, and partnering with senior Christoph Goettler to become the first M-I members to medal in the state tournament with a sixth-place finish in the doubles draw.

Koehrsen, who was rarely used in doubles situations during his first three years in high school, decided to give it a try after a few solid matches just before sectional play began.

“Over the summer we played together a couple of times, but we really didn’t have the greatest results, so then when the season came around, it just kind of happened that Christoph and Mitchell (Nguyen) played doubles together, and I played singles,” Koehrsen said.  “That’s kind of how we thought things were going, until a couple of days before sectionals.  Me and Christoph played together, and we played great.  We just decided that we should give it a shot, because we thought that we could be very successful at it, and it worked out.”

The duo went 6-2 at state, with their only losses coming to the top two seeds in the tournament, Hinsdale Central’s Alex Hagermoser and Peter Henegan, and Lake Forest’s John Zordani and Scott Christian.

“It was an awesome experience, because I had never really been there before, didn’t know what to expect,” Koehrsen said of advancing to the tournament’s final day.  “To be in the quarterfinals was pretty unique.  We had a lot of support up there, so it felt great to have a lot of people watching our matches, and a lot of people cheering for us.”

Will’s Winning Ways

108 — Career singles victories for Koehrsen, just three shy of Stephan Rauh’s school record of 111.

6 — Place finish at state with doubles partner Christoph Goettler, the best for a JS-area individual since Galesburg’s Jason Gunther took fourth in 1997.

0 — Sets lost in six Mid-Illini Conference matches this season.  His closest match in league play was a 7-5, 6-4 win over Morton’s Grant Reiman.

.872 — Win percentage for Koehrsen, who finished 30-4 in singles and 18-3 in doubles in 2013.

3Journal Star Boys Tennis Player of the Year awards for Koehrsen, who matches Richwoods’ Chase Klaus as the only player to earn that honor three different times.

Breaking Barriers

Koehrsen hopes becoming the first Mid-Illini tennis player, along with Goettler, to earn a medal at the state tournament, inspires young central Illinois athletes.

“I hope it’s the first of many to come,” Koehrsen said.  “We set the bar pretty high.  Hopefully we can use this as a goal for not only me next year, but for everyone to come up through Metamora, and everyone to come up through the Mid-Illini Conference.  To see that as a goal and to know that other people from your conference have done it, and know that it’s achieveable, and know that we can compete with those guys.”

Playing Smart

Not only has Koehrsen excelled on the tennis court, he is also currently the class of 2014 valedictorian at Metamora and has scored a 35 out of a perfect 36 on his ACT not once, but twice.

“I try to use my time wisely,” Koehrsen said.  “I try to get as much stuff done at school as possible, and then out of school just devote myself to tennis and working hard and trying to have as much intensity as I can and get as much out of practice as I can to just be the best at everything.”

Tough Tennis

The 2013 high school boys tennis season, the overall talent level in the Journal Star area was quite evident with nearly everyone returning from 2012.  The season didn’t disappoint as a pair of six-year winning streaks were snapped, and for the first time since 1999 individuals from multiple JS-area schools advanced to the final day of play.

So, how has playing against these guys made Koehrsen into the player he is today?

“They really pushed me throughout the years.  Not only in high school, but out of high school in summer tournaments,” Koehrsen said.  “I’ve always wanted to be the best in the area, so that’s kind of what has driven me these years to get better, and practice more and play harder.  It’s great to have some good competition from this area, and just to be able to play with some really good kids.”

2013 Boys Tennis POY Finalists

Chandler Clayton, Richwoods senior
Christoph Goettler, Metamora senior
Grant Reiman, Morton junior
Trent Reiman, Morton junior

The Journal Star – Peoria, IL

May 26, 2013

Metamora Tennis Duo Finishes Sixth at IHSA State Tournament

By Journal Star Staff

ARLINGTON HEIGHTSWhat began as a promising season for high school boys tennis in the Journal Star area, ended with a historic finish on Saturday.

Metamora’s doubles team of senior Christoph Goettler and junior Will Koehrsen went 6-2 at the IHSA state tournament in the northwest suburbs of Chicago to claim a school-best sixth-place finish.

Their finish was the best for any JS-area individual since Galesburg’s Jason Gunther took fourth place in 1997.

Goettler and Koehrsen, who were given a 5-8 seed, won their first two matches on the final day over Lake Forest’s Cameron Bagheri and Connor O’Kelly, 1-6, 6-1, 6-0, and Lincolnshire Stevenson’s Pawel Jaworski and Josh Lieberman, 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-2, to earn a spot in the fifth-place match.

There, the duo dropped their first set 6-1 to No. 2 seeded John Zordani and Scott Christian of Lake Forest, but rallied in the second to force a tie-break situation.  Zordani and Christian, however, would come out of the tie-break victorious, winning the set 7-6(9).

Morton’s doubles team of Trent and Grant Reiman joined Goettler and Koehrsen to become the first individuals from different JS-area schools to make it to the final day in the same year since 1999.

The juniors ran into a tough foe in the consolation quarterfinals to begin their day on Saturday, however, as they had to take on Zordani and Christian.

They, too, would give the Lake Forest pair some solid competition before falling 7-6(5), 6-4 to match their 9th-12th place finish they earned a year ago.

Defending team champion Hinsdale Central once again blew away the competition for its second consecutive team title, placing three of its four entries into championship finals.

The Red Devils earned a total of 59 points, one shy of a perfect tournament, easily defeating Lake Forest and Lincolnshire Stevenson, who finished in a tie for second with 36 points.

In the singles title match, top-seeded Martin Joyce of Hinsdale Central defeated No. 5-8 seed Eric Marbach of Aurora Waubonsie Valley 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.  Marbach prevented the Red Devils’ perfect tournament by defeating Michael Lorenzini in the semi-finals.

The doubles title match pitted two Hinsdale Central duos as 3-4 seed Eddie Grabill and Harold Martin knocked off top-seeded Alex Hagermoser and Peter Henegan, 6-3, 1-6, 6-4.

Paced by Goettler and Koehrsen, Metamora had the best team finish of any area school, tying for 14th with 13 points.  Richwoods (tie for 18th) and Morton (tie for 22nd) also had top-25 finishes.

The Journal Star – Peoria, IL

May 25, 2013

Doubles Teams from Metamora, Morton Advance to State Tennis Quarterfinals

By Journal Star Staff

ARLINGTON HEIGHTSFor the first time since 1999, individuals from two Journal Star area schools advanced to the final day of play at the IHSA state boys tennis tournament on Friday in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.

Doubles teams of Christoph Goettler and Will Koehrsen (Metamora) and Trent and Grant Reiman (Morton) have advanced to the consolation bracket quarterfinals on Saturday, after both were knocked out of the championship draw on Friday.

Goettler and Koehrsen advanced to the championship quarterfinals with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Downers Grove South’s Cody Freischlag and Christian San Andres.  The No. 5-8 seeded pair fell in their quarterfinal match, but not without giving top-seeded Alex Hagermoser and Peter Henegan of Hinsdale Central a struggle in a 6-4, 7-6(5) match.

The Reiman brothers lost their first match on Friday, despite winning the first set over Urbana University High’s Alex Mestre and Edo Roth.  Despite the 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 decision in that match, the duo went on to win their next two matches over Belleville East’s Adam Youck and Lucas Birk (6-2, 6-3) and Winnetka New Trier’s Chas Mayer and Drake Weyermuller (7-5, 6-3) to advance to Saturday.

Both teams will face duos from Lake Forest as Goettler and Koehrsen will play Cameron Bagheri and Connor O’Kelly, while the Reimans will take on No. 2 seed John Zordani and Scott Christian.  If both pairs would win their first two matches of the day, they would then meet in the fifth-place match.

Two Richwoods doubles teams were eliminated on Friday.  Chandler Clayton and Nick Khazzam were victorious in their consolation fourth and fifth round matches, but fell to Mayer and Weyermuller in the seventh round.

Kiran Patel-O’Connor and Zach Settelmyer dropped their first match of the day to Northbrook Glenbrook North’s David Zakhodin and Miguel Perez, 3-6, 6-1, 6-0 in the consolation fourth round.

The Journal Star – Peoria, IL

May 24, 2013

Metamora’s Goettler and Koehrsen, Morton’s Reiman Brothers in Main Draw

By Journal Star Staff

ARLINGTON HEIGHTSThe first day of the IHSA state boys tennis tournament went as planned for a pair of highly touted doubles teams from the Journal Star area on Thursday in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.

Morton’s Grant and Trent Reiman and Metamora’s Christoph Goettler and Will Koehrsen dropped just 15 games combined in their six matches on the day to advance to the fourth round in the championship bracket.

Goettler and Koehrsen posted a 6-1, 6-2 decision over Frankfort Lincoln-Way East’s Luke Greenfield and Jaroslaw Jozwik, a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Rockford Boylan’s Marcus Muldowney and Tommy Lynch, and a 6-1, 6-0 win against Naperville Central’s Justin Gillette and Daniel Delgrosso.  The 5-8 seeded pair will take on No. 9-16 seed Cody Freischlag and Christian San Andres in the fourth round.

A pair of area singles players made it as far as the third round of the consolation bracket before being eliminated.  Metamora’s Mitchell Nguyen and Pekin’s Derek Rineberg each went 2-2 on the day.

Nguyen fell to Belleville East’s Aaron Skaer 6-2, 6-2, and Rineberg dropped a 6-1, 6-3 decision to Oswego’s Jason Koesler in the consolation third round.

The Journal Star – Peoria, IL

May 23, 2013

Doubles Teams Get 5-8 Seeds at IHSA Boys Tennis Tournament

By Journal Star Staff

BLOOMINGTONDon’t talk to your optometrist, because seeing double is a good thing for the Journal Star area at this weekend’s IHSA state boys tennis tournament held in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.

For the first time since Dunlap’s doubles team of Joe Withers and Jeff Bucher garnered a 5-8 seed in 2005, participants from the area are seeded in the top eight.  In face, there are four of them.

Morton’s dynamic twin duo of juniors Grant and Trent Reiman are looking to improve upon a 9th-12th finish at last year’s state tournament, earning a 5-8 seed.  The doubles team will face former Richwoods player and current Illinois Math and Science Academy sophomore, Rajiv Patel-O’Connor and his teammate, junior Ken Yun in the first round.

One more doubles team — Metamora senior Christoph Goettler and two-time Journal Star Boys Tennis Player of the Year Will Koehrsen also earned a 5-8 seed.  The duo has played only three matches together all season, but defeated Richwoods seniors Chandler Clayton and Nico Khazzam in the Dunlap Sectional doubles title match.  Goettler and Koehrsen, a junior, will face Frankfort Lincoln-Way East senior Luke Greenfield and junior Jaroslaw Jozwik in the opening round.

Dunlap Sectional singles champion Mitchell Nguyen, a Metamora junior, will face Chicago University High senior Lucas Buchheim-Jurisson in the first round.

The Journal Star – Peoria, IL

May 19, 2013

Richwoods Ends Birds’ 6-Year Run

By Johnny Campos

DUNLAP — The Metamora boys tennis team continued to rack up singles and doubles titles at the Dunlap Sectional on Saturday.

But Richwoods had the numbers to claim the team competition, ending a six-year sectional run by the Redbirds.  The Knights totaled 27 points, three more than Metamora.

“That was our goal,” Knights coach Patti Shaw said.  “That and just qualifying the team for state.

“Two huge goals, but we had the players who could do that this year.”

Richwoods qualified two doubles teams and two singles players for next week’s state tournament.

The Redbirds qualified doubles champions Christoph Goettler and two-time Journal Star Player of the Year Will Koehrsen, and the singles winner Mitchell Nguyen.

“Things just didn’t go right for us yesterday, but everything went perfectly today,” Metamora coach Kely Willard said.  “We knew that the sectional was going to be an uphill battle, team-wise.”

Goettler and Koehrsen, who have been playing together for less than a week, knocked off top-seeded Chandler Clayton and Nico Khazzam of Richwoods, 6-2, 6-1 in the doubles final.

“It’s a new team, but they both kind of know what they’re doing,” Willard said.  “We played them together on Monday against a really dynamite team, and they won really easily.”

Goettler had lost to Clayton and Khazzam earlier in the season with a different partner.

“We didn’t really know what to expect,” Goettler said.  “But we knew that if we played well, we could beat them.

“After the first couple of games, we knew we could win if we just kept playing the way we were playing.”

In singles, Nguyen claimed first place without having to life a racket in the finals.

Nguyen beat top-seeded Kevin Wang of Richwoods, 2-6, 7-6(7), 6-2 in a semi-final match that lasted more than three hours.

After the match, Nguyen was told that his opponent, Calen Crim of East Peoria, could not play in the finals because of an injury.

“It was a relief, because I was so tired,” Nguyen said.  “I would have preferred to play him.

“But he had a tough match, too.”

It took Crim, the No. 2 seed, more than two hours to beat Richwoods freshman Alex Cheng, 7-6(2), 6-2.

“I started to feel a little twinge in my elbow yesterday,” Crim said.  “All the long rallies today kind of pushed it.

“My semi-final match was hard, and the final would have been harder,” he added.  “I don’t want to blow my arm out right before state, especially my senior year.”

Washington’s Bryan Kinas and Brett Grimes took third in doubles, beating Kiran Patel-O’Connor and Zach Settelmyer, 6-4, 6-4.

The Journal Star – Peoria, IL

May 17, 2013

Area Boys Tennis Teams Stepping Up to Sectionals

By Josh Herman

DUNLAP — What was supposed to feature one of the most successful pools of high school boys tennis talent to grace the Journal Star area, the 2013 season has not disappointed.

Area powerhouse Metamora has already seen one streak end, as Morton snapped the Redbirds’ run of six straight Mid-Illini Conference titles last weekend.  And now another streak may be in jeopardy.

Richwoods is fresh off of dominating the Mid-State 6 Conference tournament, taking first and second in both the singles and doubles draws.  The Knights will be looking to unseat Metamora for the first time in seven years at the Dunlap Sectional on Friday and Saturday.

Richwoods coach Patti Shaw knows that the talent level will be upped this weekend as compared to last.

“Every step should be tougher,” she said.  “We’ve played these guys and we’ve gotten some great wins in some matches, but the second time you see a person or a team, it can be an entirely different day.”

The Knights have a trio of seniors at the top of their lineup with the No. 1 doubles team of Chandler Clayton and Nick Khazzam and No. 1 singles option Kevin Wang.

Where Richwoods will need to pick up some crucial points, however, falls on the shoulders of three freshmen in singles player Alex Cheng and doubles team Kiran Patel-O’Connor and Zach Settelmyer.

KOEHRSEN KRUSHING:  One of the big talks of the Mid-Illini Conference tournament was Metamora junior Will Koehrsen, who is firing on all cylinders at the right time.

The two-time reigning sectional singles champion once again has his eyes set on a title and a seed in the state tournament.  And the way that he’s playing of late, he’s likely to do so.

“I’m just trying to keep my confidence up,” Koehrsen said.  “If I’m struggling, I need to know that this is how I can play.  I know that I can play like this, so I’ll just need to get it together.”

The Journal Star – Peoria, IL

May 11, 2013

Potters Unseat Six-Time Defending Tennis Champs

By Josh Herman

DUNLAP — It took over six hours on a cool and cloudy Friday evening, but for the first time in seven years, the Mid-Illini Conference boys tennis championship will change hands.

Morton won two of the four draws at the conference tournament and, after going a perfect 6-0 in its dual meets, garnered enough total points (15.75) to knock off six-time defending champion Metamora (14.75).

“Finally,” Potters’ coach Joal Stanfield said.  “It’s been six years, and once you get on a roll like that, you’re tough to take down.”

The Redbirds won both of the singles draws in straight sets, meaning that Morton would have to take both doubles titles to stop the streak.

The doubles matches each went three sets apiece, with Morton’s second-seeded duo of Grant Reiman and Jonah Laktas taking down No. 1 Christoph Goettler and Caleb Neumann of Metamora, 6-2, 5-7, 6-1 for the No. 1 doubles title.

That left all eyes on No. 2 doubles.  Morton’s Andrew Payne and Chandler Stimpert held their top seed and were able to outlast Metamora’s Nick Becker and Ryan Willard, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

“I think the fact that I had a senior on each (doubles) team really helped out,” Stanfield said.  “Jonah Laktas at No. 1 doubles played doubles for me all year and has just done phenomenal, and then having Andrew Payne, I honestly think he carried my No. 2 doubles team tonight.”

While one streak ended on Friday night, another one stayed alive at No. 1 singles.  Metamora junior Will Koehrsen dropped the first game of the title match to Morton’s Trent Reiman, and then won the next 12 for the 6-1, 6-0 victory, his third straight conference title in the top singles draw.

“He’s playing so clean right now,” Metamora coach Kelly Willard said.  “Some may even call it dirty.”

“It kind of felt like I couldn’t miss,” Koehrsen said.  “I didn’t expect to play that well, but I guess everything just kind of worked in the final.”

Metamora’s Mitchell Nguyen took the No. 2 singles title with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Morton’s Taylor Nave.

The Journal Star – Peoria, IL

May 7, 2013

44

By Journal Star Staff

Career singles victories in as many matches for Metamora senior boys tennis player Christoph Goettler after a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Normal Community’s No. 1 singles player John Lenz on Monday.

Goettler, who has played on the Redbirds’ top doubles team the past few years, finished his high school career with a perfect 44-0 mark, including wins over area standouts Derek Rineberg (Pekin) and Kevin Wang (Richwoods).

Goettler will likely pair with Mitchell Nguyen to form Metamora’s No. 1 doubles option at sectionals and will look to improve on his third-team all-state honor that he earned at the state tournament last year.  His career doubles record is 115-30.

The Journal Star – Peoria, IL

March 27, 2013

Wealth of Boys Tennis Talent Returns

By Josh Herman

PEORIA – With 16 returning boys tennis state qualifiers from a year ago, the all-around talent in the Journal Star area may be some of the best it has ever seen.

The raised talent level also means a high level of competition, which could mean the end of a few very impressive streaks by Metamora — six consecutive Mid-Illini Conference and six consecutive sectional titles.

The Redbirds haven’t lost all their talent, as they return three of their four state qualifiers from a year ago, including two-time Journal Star Player of the Year Will Koehrsen (jr).  However, their depth will be challenged by Morton in the conference race and Richwoods in the sectional.

“We have a lot of work to do if we want to maintain the high standards we have established as a program,” Metamora coach Kelly Willard said.  “The top half of our lineup will certainly be experienced and talented, but it will be our job to get the lower half of the lineup to raise their games.”

Richwoods may be the top team in all of central Illinois, returning honorable mention all-state doubles team Chandler Clayton and Kevin Wang, both seniors.

What makes the Knights dangerous, and an early favorite to win the Dunlap Sectional, is that they can go eight deep, including a trio of freshmen that will be looking to make an instant impact in Kiran Patel-O’Connor, Zach Settelmyer, and Alex Cheng.

“I’m very excited about this team,” Richwoods coach Patti Shaw said.  “It’s a great mix of experience and young talent.  Everybody on the team can push each other to compete harder and improve during the course of the season.”

Morton nearly clipped Metamora last year after finishing 6-0 in the regular season, including a 5-4 dual meet victory over the Redbirds, but fell just half a point shy of the Mid-Illini title at the tournament.

The Potters return four of their six qualifiers from last season, including twins Grant and Trent Reiman, who form the toughest doubles team in the area.  The pair became the first Morton players to ever make it to Saturday of the state tournament, losing in the consolation quarterfinals to the eventual consolation champions.

While Morton and Richwoods might look better on paper, it’s still not a smart bet to go against the powerhouse that is Metamora.

“We can’t control how good other teams are,” Willard said.  “We will continue to be focused on ourselves.  As always, our goal is to be a very difficult team to deal with by the end of the season.”