By BURT ANGELI
KINGSFORD - Kingsford's successful girls tennis season continued Wednesday with the Great Northern Conference championship.
Burt Angeli/The Daily News Photos
West Iron County’s Kylee Erickson (above) captured the Great Northern Conference No. 1 singles title with a 7-5, 6-0 decision over Escanaba’s Codi Jenshak.
Coach Mark Shanks' Flivvers, sporting an unbeaten dual mark with one tie this fall, tallied 42 points to dominate GNC opposition. Marquette (32) and defending champion Escanaba (30) finished second and third, respectively.
Kingsford advanced to five finals and earned titles at each level. The Flivvers also added three thirds.
"When you win five finals, you're going to wind up on top," Shanks said. "My kids won just about everything they should have won.
"Home courts. Good draw. Good weather. Everything fell into place for us."
Top-seeded Kylee Erickson of West Iron County credited an attitude adjustment for capturing the No. 1 singles title. The "patient" senior downed Escanaba's Codi Jenshak 7-5, 6-0 in the finals.
Both players looked more like human backboards in constantly hustling into position and returning shots. Jenshak rallied past two-time defending No. 1 singles champ Sam Fleming of Kingsford in the semifinals.
"I knew whether I was going to play Sam or Codi it wasn't going to be easy," Erickson said. "I had to be patient against Codi because she is such a patient player.
"She's smart, she waits for her shots and I knew I had to do that to because if I went whaling at them it was going to be a quick match."
Erickson also cited a new "positive attitude" that clicked earlier this week in a straight sets victory over Fleming.
"All of a sudden I had a revelation," said Erickson, noting her competitive tennis career ends next week with the U.P. Division 2 tournament at Westwood. "This is the last time I'll probably play tennis. I want to have fun and be patient, and it worked."
West Iron coach Denise Spelgatti credited Erickson's determination. Erickson won two of three matches against Jenshak this season.
"You saw how she plays," Spelgatti said. "She's willing to hit 25 shots to make a point. That's what makes her good.
"She'll play and play and play until somebody else makes a mistake That was evident today. Codi is a fantastic player as well."
Kingsford garnered three singles titles from No. 2 Hannah Tresedder, No. 3 Michelle Scheibe and No. 4 Santina Bianco. Tresedder has been a "whole different player" since early in the season, Scheibe and Fleming are the Flivvers' senior starters and Bianco remained unbeaten by downing Menominee's Jessica Nutter.
"Hannah became aggressive," Shanks said. "We gave her a few ideas and she took off with them.
"I told her after the second week you're not allowed to hit the ball more than five times. She took it on as a task. She's not a defensive player. She's an offensive player."
"I've seen improvement in almost all of my girls."
The Flivvers also triumphed at Nos. 2 and 4 doubles, with Janay Walters-Ali VanRemortel and Taylor Jacobson-Jaelyn Jennings. Walters, Jennings and VanRemortel left volleyball for the tennis program.
"That was a huge asset," said Shanks, noting the trio have participated in summer tennis sessions. "Once I saw the kids we had coming out then I knew things were looking promising.
"We work hard. We get more out of practice against ourselves than some of the matches we play."
Marquette's Hannah Johnson took second at No. 2 singles. The Redettes did prevail at No. 3 doubles with Taylor Rovin-Brianna Buhl.
Number one doubles crown went to Escanaba's Braedyn Bosilovatz and Cathryn Wood. The Eskymos also tacked on runner-up awards from No. 2 doubles Jalyn Dagenais-Zoe Berquist, No. 3 Audrey Wilson-Brianna Dault and No. 4 Olivia Berquist-Shelby Gregoire.
Gladstone No. 3 singles Lauren Parrett and No. 1 doubles Bridget Becker-Nicolle Trudeau reached finals matches.
Kingsford, with seven juniors and two sophomores starting, compete next Wednesday in the U.P. Division 1 tournament at Marquette.
"We have one more huge prize to go after," Shanks said.