2004 Season Recap

2002-2003-2004 Articles


The 2004 Metamora boys tennis season found the Redbirds facing the arduous task of replacing four of its top six from the record-setting team of 2003.  That they were able to achieve remarkable success again in ’04 with four new faces made the season’s accomplishments even more satisfying.

As has been the rule for the past five or six years, the competition at the top of the Mid-Illini Conference continued to be excellent in 2004, as both Morton and Dunlap had exceptional teams once again.  The dual match results were odd, as Metamora beat Dunlap twice, Dunlap beat Morton twice, and Morton beat Metamora twice, resulting in a tie for first place for the third straight year (Metamora and Morton in ’03; all three schools in ’02).  Morton’s narrow victory at the Mid-Illini Conference tournament did not detract from the tremendous competition each school presented the other two throughout the season.

Redbird doubles players continued to experience Mid-Illini success, as Kyle Shoff and Nate Rauh cruised to the #1 conference doubles title while Mike Axelson and Nick Vaughn won the #2 championship.  In the two years the Mid-Illini has played a two singles, two doubles format, Metamora players have now won all four possible doubles conference titles.

The 2004 season was capped off with a second consecutive sectional championship for Metamora High School.  This accomplishment, almost a laughable goal five years ago, helped validate this year’s team as exceptional in its own right.  Kyle Shoff and Nate Rauh won Metamora’s first ever doubles sectional title, defeating Dunlap’s state quarterfinal team of Joe Withers and Jeff Bucher in a dramatic final.  It was Shoff’s and Rauh’s third win over Withers and Bucher in three attempts in ’04, a remarkable feat against a truly great doubles opponent.

John Armstrong advanced to the sectional title match and lost a tight three-set battle to Seth Thompson of Notre Dame.  To have progressed from not being in the top six in 2003 to finishing second in the sectional in 2004, however, represented amazing development for Armstrong in a year’s time.  Mike Axelson and Nick Vaughn finished third in doubles, also advancing to the state tournament.  One year earlier, Metamora qualified both doubles teams for state for the first time ever.  This year, as expectations have continued to grow, qualifying both doubles teams was what was expected.  It was Metamora’s second straight year of qualifying five players for state, another school best.

Sectional championships are extremely difficult to capture.  Winning a second straight title made many Redbird players and this Redbird coach very proud and extremely satisfied.  The strength of the Mid-Illini Conference was also demonstrated at the Bloomington Sectional, where Morton ended Bloomington’s nearly three-decade stranglehold on the boys sectional, winning the title by a convincing fourteen points.

The sectional title was certainly the high point of the season, but the rest of the year also provided some very memorable moments.  The Redbirds finished second at the Red & White Invitational, while Kyle Shoff and Nate Rauh captured the #1 doubles title.  The Red & White was extremely strong again in ’04, as even a team that tied for 6th place (Ottawa) won a sectional title later in the year.  Metamora also had success at the Bloomington Invitational, finishing 4th out of sixteen quality teams.  Nick Vaughn and Mike Axelson won Metamora’s first ever championship at the Bloomington event, capturing the #2 doubles title with wins over U-High, Danville, Galesburg, and Edwardsville.

For the second year in a row, Metamora began the season with an indoor invitational featuring three exceptional opponents.  The Redbirds were able to win 3-2 mini-duals against Moline and Danville and play competitively against Gurnee Warren in what was a tremendous start to the ’04 campaign.

Metamora was honored for a second consecutive year by being invited to the Tom Pitchford Invitational at Hersey High School in Arlington Heights.  This invitational, featuring 32 of the finest teams in Illinois, is considered to be the crown jewel of in-season tournaments, and merely being included is an honor.  Only seven teams from outside of the Chicago area were invited; Metamora and Morton were both thrilled to represent Central Illinois.  The Redbirds had a successful tournament, finishing 18th in the very strong field.

The dual season was another good one for Metamora, as the Redbirds finished with an overall record of 12-2.  Metamora defeated pre-season Mid-Illini favorite Dunlap 7-2 and 6-3, stretching to four the winning streak against the Eagles.  The Redbirds also beat Mid-State Six co-champs Notre Dame and Richwoods 7-2 and 8-1, respectively.  Merely competing against Richwoods was unthinkable until a few years ago, so the 8-1 season-opening victory was very satisfying to this coach.

Despite the fact that the two losses (particularly the second one) could have certainly been victories, it cannot be said that Metamora lost to a lesser team.  The Redbirds had the unfortunate luck of having a great tennis team in the same season Morton had a great tennis team.  The sustained high level of play at Metamora, Morton, and Dunlap has served to motivate each school’s players to continually improve, which has ultimately led to the Mid-Illini Conference having outstanding success against other area schools as well as on a state-wide level.

Many Redbird individuals were honored for their season results as well.  Kyle Shoff, Nate Rauh, and John Armstrong were named to the eight-person All-Conference team.  It was Kyle’s third time and Nate’s second time being so honored.  Nick Vaughn and Mike Axelson were named to the second team.

At the state tournament, Shoff and Rauh were seeded in the top sixteen in Illinois, a first for any Metamora duo.  They won three matches in the main draw to reach the round of sixteen, where they were defeated by the eventual state champion team of Matt Bruch and Alex Lambropoulos of Lake Forest.  As a result of their accomplishments, Shoff and Rauh were named to the All-State third team.  In his last three years of high school, Shoff won ten matches at the state tournament and was named all-state twice.

As a team, Metamora scored seven points to finish tied for 31st place.  This represented Metamora’s highest finish ever at the state tournament.  As another demonstration of the strength of the Mid-Illini Conference, Dunlap scored eight points and Morton eleven.  Dunlap’s points all came via their doubles team of Withers and Bucher, which advanced to the state quarterfinals, including a stunning upset over the tournament’s #1 seeded team from Deerfield.  Morton’s points were more evenly distributed, as the Potters qualified all six players for the tournament for the first time in school history.  In all, the Mid-Illini easily set a new conference standard, qualifying sixteen players for state.  For comparison, the Mid-State Six qualified two.

Kyle Shoff was named the team’s Most Valuable Player.  Nate Rauh received the Most Dedicated Player award, and John Armstrong was the Most Improved Player.

Metamora had another outstanding senior group in ’04.  Not all four seniors contributed a huge number of victories, but all were fantastic individuals and wonderful team players.  As a tribute to their academic prowess, Nate Gray, Patrick Mulcrone, and Ben Winkler were all in the top ten of their graduating class, while Kyle Shoff has received a substantial academic scholarship to attend St. Louis University.  Of the four, Shoff quite clearly had the most spectacular tennis results, but all four players will be missed next year.

The returning nucleus of players at Metamora Township High School now has a large hill to climb to make names for themselves.  The bar has been substantially raised in terms of what is expected.  The individuals that have graduated in the past few years have shown that unyielding dedication to team success can produce quite memorable results, ones that will be cherished forever.  They have also learned that this dedication brings with it good times, lasting friendships, and a closeness with each other that cannot be overlooked.

Congratulations to all Redbird players on another great season.


Boys Season is Less Than Six Months Away

Mid-Illini Shaping up to be Dominant Area Conference

Metamora – The 2004 Mid-Illini Conference boys tennis season may seem a lifetime away, but the fall will quickly fade to winter and will be followed by spring sports sooner than it seems.  The boys tennis race in the Mid-Illini will more than likely be intriguing once again, as the conference will retain its claim as the superior one in the Peoria area.

Despite the overall excellence in the Mid-State Six slowly declining over the past few years, there have remained outstanding individuals at Richwoods and Pekin.  This year, however, it appears that the best individuals and teams will all reside in the Mid-Illini towns.

Last year’s Mid-Illini race was climactic as usual, with Metamora claiming the league title after a dominating conference tournament display at Washington High School on May 17.  Morton was second and Dunlap third, marking the ninth consecutive year that no other Mid-Illini school has surpassed those three.  Brief previews of the area schools follow.  Much more detailed outlooks will appear in the months to come.

Team Brief Outlook
Dunlap (9-5, 6-4 Mid-Illini last year) New blood comes to the Eagle tennis team for the second time in four years in the name of head coach Mario Palmieri.  Dunlap returns a wealth of talent from last year’s third place M-I squad, led by the sectional champion doubles tandem of Joey Withers (jr) and Jeff Bucher (jr).  Other returnees with varsity experience include Chris Stuart (sr) and Thiago Wong (jr).   In addition, Dunlap may well be the recipient of a new tennis playing student in 2004.  Look for Palmieri’s team to play smart, aggressive tennis in adding to the Dunlap tradition.
Morton (12-1, 9-1) A bridesmaid in the Mid-Illini for three consecutive years, Morton will try to capture the 2004 Mid-Illini title with its outstanding depth.  Jordan Nestrud (jr), Brent Belser (jr), and Jeff Erwin (sr) bring loads of varsity experience to this talented team.  Adding to the mix in ’04 will be Eric Ogden (jr), Ty Reiman (so), Brett Massey (so), and Josh Butler (jr).  If Morton can collect wins near the top of its line-up in addition to those it expects to get from its bottom half, Pete Martin’s 8th year of directing operations in Potter land should be an enjoyable one for all except his opponents.
Metamora (13-1, 9-1) Metamora graduated its best class of tennis players in school history after a remarkable ’03 season which brought conference and sectional championships.  Returning for the Redbirds in ’04 will be All-Conference selections Kyle Shoff (sr) and Nate Rauh (jr).  No other significant varsity experience returns.  Joining the returnees in fighting for playing time will be Johnny Armstrong (jr), Mike Axelson (jr), Nate Gray (sr), Patrick Mulcrone (sr), Ben Winkler (sr), Nick Vaughn (so), Griffin Carr (so) and others.  Seventh year head coach Kelly Willard will need a long winter to help prepare his troops for the dangers of Morton and Dunlap.
Limestone (5-9, 2-8) Limestone returns its top player for his final season in senior Michael Lucas.  Kyle Holmes (jr) also gives the Rockets varsity experience in the rugged Mid-Illini.  Head coach Chuck Sanders will have to rely on underclassmen to fill most of the remaining spots in the Rocket line-up.
East Peoria (2-12, 1-9) Third year coach Shane Smith graduated his top three players from 2003, so the Raiders will have a tough task in assembling a line-up at the top.  If EP is to compete well in the Mid-Illini, they will likely have to rely on strong play in the bottom half of their line-up.
Washington (7-8, 3-7) Washington returns Sam Lott (sr) and Joe Lehman (so) from a year ago.  Dave Krostal’s team will also rely on junior John LaHood to give his team strength in the middle of the line-up.  Gone from 2003 are four seniors that will be difficult to replace.

Other Area Teams to Watch

Richwoods For the first time in memory, Richwoods enters the season without a dominant singles player.  The Knights will instead rely on quality throughout the line-up to defend their Mid-State Six title from 2003.  Coach Steve Knight will rely on sophomore Bill Grinstead to lead the charges in ’04.  Don’t feel too sorry for Richwoods, though; Chase Klaus is but a year away from high school.
Pekin The Dragons graduated their Journal Star Player of the Year Matt Rineberg and lost their head coach, Matt Snell, as well.  Rebuilding the tennis tradition in Pekin will take some time for the new boss, as the ’04 season could very well be a difficult one for Dragon backers.
Notre Dame The Irish return virtually their entire team from its Mid-State Six runner-up campaign to Richwoods.  Seth Thompson (jr) leads a deep and balanced group.  New head coach Joe Thierer will have ample talent to work with in his first season at the helm.


Varsity Redbirds Win Mid-Illini Championship

Metamora Sweeps All Four Titles to Dominate Tournament

Washington – The 2003 Mid-Illini season came to a climax Saturday at Washington High School as the Metamora Redbirds won the conference tournament to clinch the overall conference championship for the season.

Metamora scored a perfect 24 points on the day to defeat runner-up Morton, which tallied 16.  Dunlap scored 10, Washington 8, Limestone 4, and East Peoria 2.

Metamora and Morton entered the day tied for the Mid-Illini lead, with the winner of the tournament being assured of the outright conference crown.  Three Redbird entries received the #1 seed in their respective flights, while the other entry was seeded #2.

Top-seeded  senior Ty Wyffels staged a big rally from 2-5 in the first set and held off a set point in the first set tie-breaker on his way to a 7-6 (6), 7-5 victory over Morton’s Andrew Martin in the #1 singles final.  With the victory, Ty became Metamora’s first singles champ since three-time winner Dan Ritschel’s reign ended in 1993.  His renewed confidence in the past few weeks and positive mental approach to the finals helped him tremendously.

Ty’s wins over Martin on May 8 and May 17 represented Martin’s only singles losses to Peoria-area players in the past two seasons.  Despite the loss in the conference finals, Martin, last year’s conference champion in both singles and doubles, will go down as one of the greatest players to ever compete in the Mid-Illini Conference.

Second seeded sophomore Nate Rauh played as well as he has played all season in a 6-2, 6-3 thrashing of Morton’s Jordan Nestrud in the #2 championship match.  Nate’s athleticism, consistency, and his ability to end points with both his groundstrokes and his volleys made him unstoppable throughout the match.  Nestrud’s loss, only his fifth of the season, was his first straight-set defeat since March 29 against Alex Weber of Rockford Guilford.

Top-seeded senior Joe Harris and junior Kyle Shoff continued to dominate doubles matches for the Redbirds, defeating third-seeded Jeff Erwin and Bryan Horvath of Morton in the #1 doubles championship, 6-0,6-4.  Erwin and Horvath had beaten the tournament’s #2 seed, Joey Withers and Chester Dien of Dunlap, in the semi-finals.  Shoff and Harris took control from the first game of the match, and their intensity, emotion, and ability to close out points made their victory seem easy.  Their doubles championship was Metamora’s first since the 1997 season, when Jon Vanecko and Scott Shoff, Kyle’s cousin, won the crown.

Andy Ngo and Andrew Laird, also the top seed in their flight, played the tightest match of the day, defeating Morton’s Brent Belser and Ryan Bruso 3-6, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (4) in the #2 doubles final.  The pair faced a match point in the second set tie-breaker but fought back to force a dramatic third set.  Ngo and Laird won the last five points of the match after trailing 4-2 in the final set tie-break.  Their positive body language and energy throughout the day allowed them to mentally wear down their opponents, culminating with the #2 title.

Tournament championships are much more rewarding when the competition is so tough.  It must be said that Morton was outstanding throughout the season and provided Metamora with tremendous competition in all four flights Saturday.  To win the championship of such a good tennis league, Metamora’s tennis team was forced to play a nearly perfect tournament.

Thankfully, they did.  Four flights, four titles.  Mid-Illini champions.  Congratulations!!!



Metamora Wins Sectional Championship

First Tennis Sectional Title in 18-Year History of Program

Peoria – The Metamora varsity tennis team accomplished another one of its goals Saturday afternoon by winning the Peoria Richwoods sectional championship for the first time in school history.  Metamora’s 28 team points easily outdistanced second place Dunlap’s 21; Richwoods was third with 19 points.

In the singles competition, Ty Wyffles recorded his second straight sectional title with a thrilling 6-4,3-6,7-6(4) victory over Adam Gray of Richwoods.  The two had played earlier this season with Wyffels winning rather easily, 6-3,6-2.  This match, however, was very different from the first meeting.  Gray, as usual, was incredibly consistent from the baseline, and he added a stunning arsenal of forehand winners to his attack which made his game very dangerous.  In the end, though, Ty’s ability to come up with big shots under pressure and mental toughness in the tie-breaker were the differences in this very hard-fought match.

Metamora’s other singles entrant, Nate Rauh, played well in his two matches, defeating Logan Harmon of East Peoria, 6-1,6-0 before losing to Chester Dien of Dunlap, 6-2,6-2.  Dien played what all witnesses described as the match of his life, making almost zero unforced errors and hitting winners from all angles.  Nate’s sophomore season, despite ending earlier than he would have liked, was still sensational.  He recorded 25 singles wins, a school record for a sophomore, and seven of his eight losses were to state qualifiers.

Metamora’s #1 doubles team, Joe Harris and Kyle Shoff, fell short of their goal of a sectional title, losing to Dunlap’s Joey Withers and Jeff Bucher in the championship match, 6-4,6-7,6-2.  Much like Gray and Dien had in singles, Withers and Bucher seemed to save their best play of the season for their match-up against Metamora at the sectional.  Harris and Shoff had defeated Bucher and Withers twice during the regular season, but the Dunlap duo played offensively and matched Harris and Shoff’s intensity to pull off the upset.

Andy Ngo and Andrew Laird, Metamora’s second doubles team, also qualified for state by finishing in fourth place at the sectional.  The pair defeated Notre Dame’s Nick Vaughn and Patrick Lawless in the qualifying round, 6-4,6-4, despite almost letting a 5-0 second set lead slip away.  Ngo and Laird played brilliantly in the semis, taking Withers and Bucher three sets before falling.  After beginning the third place match against Richwoods with an easy 6-2 first set, fatigue set in and Ngo and Laird lost a match which could have been won, 2-6,6-4,7-6.

The sectional championship represents several years of hard work, dedication, and commitment.  The players on the 2003 Redbird tennis team have seen the rewards which can be reaped through this hard work and dedication.  Congratulations to all!!!


Frosh/Soph Redbirds Win Mid-Illini Championship

Armstrong, Axelson Win Singles Championships

Metamora – The 2003 Metamora boys frosh/soph tennis team closed out its Mid-Illini season with the overall conference championship at the Mid-Illini tournament held May 12 at MTHS.

The squad, led by Coach Boeker, won the Mid-Illini tournament with 18 total points and, by virtue of Morton’s second place tie with Dunlap (16 points each), squeaked out the overall conference title despite two dual losses to the Potters.  Morton had needed only to finish second by itself in the tournament to retain the title.

Johnny Armstrong and Mike Axelson were the singles stars for Metamora, with each player winning his respective flight easily.  Armstrong defeated Morton’s Brett Massey 8-2 in the #1 championship, while Axelson beat Morton’s Ty Reiman 8-0 in the #2 final.

Metamora’s doubles teams both finished in third place on the day.  The duo of David Jones and Chris Neumann lost a tight semi-final match to Dunlap before closing with a victory in the third-place match.  Ironically, the semi-final loss turned out to be necessary in allowing Dunlap to tie Morton for second place, thereby helping Metamora win the overall title.

Metamora’s other doubles team, Griffin Carr and Mike Noiles, defeated Morton’s #2 doubles team in the third place match to clinch the tournament title.

Congratulations to the frosh/soph squad on a job well done!



Metamora Well Represented on All-Conference Team

Four Make First Team; Two Make Second Team

Washington – The 2003 conference season was capped off May 17 with a team conference championship for the varsity Redbirds.  Due to their outstanding performances throughout the season, several individual Redbirds were recognized with All-Conference status.  The league recognizes eight individuals on the first team and eight more on the second team.

Ty Wyffels, a senior, made the squad as a unanimous pick for the second consecutive season.  Ty was 11-1 in Mid-Illini singles matches this year and 6-0 in doubles, winning the M-I singles crown with a 7-6, 7-5 victory over Morton’s Andrew Martin.  Ty is the defending singles champion at the sectional, and he will attempt to qualify for the state tournament for the third consecutive year this weekend.

Kyle Shoff, a junior, was a unanimous pick as well and made the team for the second straight season.  Kyle was 10-0 in M-I singles matches and 11-1 in doubles, capturing the M-I doubles title with a 6-0, 6-4 win over Jeff Erwin and Bryan Horvath of Morton.  Kyle was the only player from any school to play all ten conference matches without a singles loss.  His career singles record now stands at 46-2.

Joe Harris, a senior, was a unanimous pick, primarily for his outstanding doubles play throughout the season.  Joe was 6-3 in M-I singles matches and 11-1 in doubles, winning the conference championship with Shoff.  He will be attempting to win Metamora’s first ever sectional title in doubles with Kyle Shoff this weekend.

Nate Rauh, a sophomore, earned his way onto the all-conference team with his tremendous play at the conference tournament, defeating Morton’s Jordan Nestrud, 6-2, 6-3 in the #2 singles final.  Nate was 11-1 in M-I singles play and 6-1 in doubles.  He becomes Metamora’s fourth sophomore in history to make the all-conference team, joining Dan Ritschel (’91), Andy Gravlin (’99), and Kyle Shoff (’02).

Andy Ngo and Andrew Laird, both seniors, were named to the second team, largely due to their successful conference tournament.  In the #2 doubles final, they defeated Morton’s Brent Belser and Ryan Bruso, 3-6, 7-6, 7-6.  Ngo and Laird suffered only two losses each in singles during the M-I season and were unbeaten as a doubles combination against league opponents.

Other Mid-Illini players making the first team were Andrew Martin (Morton), Jordan Nestrud (Morton), Chester Dien (Dunlap), and Joey Withers (Dunlap).  Members of the second team included Brent Belser (Morton), Ryan Bruso (Morton), Bryan Horvath (Morton), Chris Stuart (Dunlap), Jeff Bucher (Dunlap), and John Koth (Washington).

Congratulations to all of the Redbird All-Conference performers!



Redbirds Participate in Pitchford Invitational

Metamora Finishes 17th in Strong Field of 32

Arlington Heights – The Metamora varsity tennis team made its first trip in school history to the Tom Pitchford Invitational at Arlington Heights Hersey High School over the weekend of May 3.

The invitation only tournament annually features 32 of the very finest tennis schools in Illinois.  This year’s field contained only 9 schools from outside of the Chicago area:  Bloomington, Moline, Danville, Springfield, Metamora, Normal Community, O’Fallon, Urbana, and Ottawa.

Ty Wyffels had an outstanding weekend, finishing 4-1 in the #1 singles draw.  He was paired against Lee Friedman of Lincolnshire Stevenson in the first round.  Friedman, who finished in the top 12 in singles in Illinois last year, won a competitive match, 6-1,6-3.  Wyffels then went on a tear; he defeated Eric Hendrickson of Lyons Township (top 32 in doubles last year), 6-0,6-3 — Dan O’Keefe of Springfield, 6-3,7-6 — Nick Epperson of Bloomington, 6-1,6-1 — and Jeff McIntosh of Palatine Fremd, 6-2,6-4.  The win over McIntosh was the weekend’s best for Ty, as McIntosh was a top 48 finisher in singles two years ago and a top 48 doubles player last year.

Nate Rauh also had a good weekend of singles for the Redbirds, collecting two victories.  His win over John Biegert of Moline (who played #1 against Metamora on March 22) was outstanding, as Nate overcame yet another 4-1 first-set deficit.  Losses against Highland Park, Bloomington, and Hinsdale Central come frequently for everyone, and, despite playing well, Nate was no exception.

Metamora’s #1 doubles team of Joe Harris and Kyle Shoff had the unfortunate luck of drawing a top 24 doubles team from last year, Weltman and Gill of Deerfield.  After the initial loss, Joe and Kyle had a very good weekend, defeating teams from Urbana, Palatine Fremd, and Glenbard West.  The 6-1,6-3 thumping of Glenbard West came immediately after West had disposed of Palatine’s #1 doubles team, a team which Joe and Kyle had lost to earlier in the year.

Metamora’s #2 doubles team of Andy Ngo and Andrew Laird had a tough weekend.  After drawing the tournament’s #2 seed from Lincolnshire Stevenson, the duo swept past an Aurora West team before faltering against beatable teams from Prospect and Ottawa.

As a team, the Redbirds finished a very respectable 17th place in the 32-team field, tied with Naperville Central.  Looking up the leaderboard and seeing Homewood-Flossmoor and Hinsdale Central only 2 and 7 points, respectively, ahead of Metamora was a very encouraging experience.  Bloomington used doubles championships at both #1 and #2 to capture the team title with 52 points, edging out New Trier (50), Deerfield (49), and Lake Forest (48).


 Redbirds to Participate in Pitchford Invitational

Two-Day Event Dubbed “Mini-State” Begins May 2

Metamora – The Metamora tennis schedule added its crown jewel this week with the signing of a contract to participate in the Tom Pitchford Invitational at Hersey High School in Arlington Heights on May 2-3.

This tournament annually includes 32 of the finest teams in the state of Illinois.  Tournament selection personnel determine the field by reviewing previous state tournament results and projecting which teams will be the strongest in the current year.   Metamora’s inclusion was bolstered by having a returning sectional singles champion (Ty Wyffels) and a returning doubles team which placed in the top 32 at last year’s state tournament (Joe Harris and Kyle Shoff).  The Redbirds will be the only Peoria-area team in the field in 2003.

The Pitchford conducts draws in 2 singles and 2 doubles flights.  The team defending champion is Winnetka New Trier.



Team of the 1990s Announced

All-Star Team Composed of Players from Metamora’s First Full Decade of Tennis

Metamora – The Metamora High School boys tennis program has announced its “Team of the 1990s,” a group of six players who achieved excellence during Metamora’s first full decade of offering the sport at the school.  The six honored individuals were each state qualifiers as well as leaders on Metamora’s best teams of the last decade.

Honorees include:

  • Dan Ritschel (1993)  Dan played #1 singles in each of his four years at Metamora (1990-1993), qualifying for the state singles tournament three times.  He was a three-time Mid-Illini Conference singles champion, still the only person to accomplish that feat.  Dan’s senior year was capped off by winning two matches in the main draw at the state tournament, the only Redbird to do so in the history of the program.  Dan’s 1993 team won the school’s first team Mid-Illini championship.


  • Daren Gravlin (1997)  Daren played #1 singles and #1 doubles for two years at Metamora (1996-1997), partnering with Jon Vanecko to form a very formidable doubles team.  His single-season and career singles and doubles winning percentages rank among the greatest in the history of the program.  Daren qualified for the state doubles tournament as a senior and won three matches to finish in the top 48 in Illinois.


  • Jon Vanecko (1997)  Jon played #2 singles and #1 doubles for two years at Metamora (1996-1997), partnering with Daren Gravlin in doubles.  He was a Mid-Illini Conference doubles champion in 1997 with Scott Shoff.  As a senior, Jon qualified for the state tournament in doubles and won three matches to finish in the top 48 in the state.   Jon’s singles and doubles winning percentages are also among the highest ever recorded by a Redbird tennis player.


  • Chris Marchand (1999)  Chris played #1 singles for two years at Metamora (1998-1999).  He also played #1 doubles as a senior with Jason Vanecko, qualifying for the state tournament via a second place finish at the Bloomington Sectional.  His team’s 8-6 loss in the third set of the sectional final against Bloomington represents the closest a Bloomington team has come to not winning a doubles sectional title in the last 25 years.


  • Jason Vanecko (1999)  Jason played #2 singles and #1 doubles as a senior at Metamora (1999).  His winning percentage in singles remains among the highest ever recorded by a Redbird player.  As a senior, he advanced to the state tournament with partner Chris Marchand.


  • Aaron Zobrist (1993)  Aaron played #2 singles and #1 doubles as a senior at Metamora (1993).  He qualified for the state tournament with doubles partner Matt Dowling and was the Mid-Illini Conference doubles champion.  His singles and doubles winning percentages also rank near the top of the all-time list for Redbird tennis players.


Two Redbirds Named All-State for 2002

Doubles Play of Harris and Shoff Earns First-Ever Award for Metamora

Northlake – Metamora’s Joe Harris and Kyle Shoff were named to the 2002 Honorable Mention All-State Doubles team at the November 6 meeting of the Illinois High School Tennis Coaches Association.  Harris and Shoff, winners of four matches at the 2002 state tournament, placed in the 25th through 32nd place group to garner the award.

Harris, a junior in 2002, is the son of Jim and Linda Harris of Germantown Hills.  Shoff, a sophomore in 2002, is the son of Cliff and Cindi Shoff of Metamora.  They are the first boys tennis players ever from Metamora to be represented on the All-State team and will be presented with a certificate recognizing their achievement.