By BURT ANGELI
KINGSFORD - The Kingsford Flivvers, looking as dominant as past champions, romped to the Great Northern Conference girls tennis title Wednesday.
Burt Angeli/The Daily News Photo
Kingsford repeated as Great Northern Conference girls tennis champion Wednesday. The Flivvers, front row, from left: Janay Walters, Santina Bianco, Anna Shanks, Jaelyn Jennings, Katy Hicks and Ali VanRemortel. Standing, from left: Abby Johnson, Megan VanPembrook, Kelsey Bennett, Taylor Jacobson, Kate Lamy, Hannah Tresedder and Coach Mark Shanks.
Anna Shanks-Kate Lamy
Ali VanRemortel-Jaelyn Jennings
The Flivvers, with all eight flights seeded No. 1, came away with seven top singles and doubles honors.
"We won seven of eight flights," Kingsford Coach Mark Shanks said. "That's a solid day. I was really happy all day."
The Flivvers, unbeaten in dual meets this season, tallied 47 points to repeat as champions. Shanks said the tourney seeding set the tone.
"It started off with the seed meeting and getting everything we wanted. That gives you a pretty good chance of going to the finals," said Shanks, noting the eight No. 1 seeds would face at best the fourth seeds in the next round. "We had one little scare in the second round but we put everybody into the finals.
"If the draw were different and we didn't come through in a few of those matches, that would have tightened it up quite a bit."
Escanaba, 31, which thwarted a Flivver sweep with the No. 3 doubles crown, claimed second place over Marquette, 28. Menominee, 24; Gladstone, 22, and West Iron County, 17, rounded out the tourney field.
"Kingsford lived up to being the favorite," Escanaba Coach Denny Lueneberg said. "They've had a nice season and they deserve it. They put in the time through the years.
"This was the spot we were in two years ago when we had a lot of seniors."
Eight seniors dot the Flivver starting lineup including No. 1 singles champ Hannah Tresedder. She grabbed the first set over Marquette's Madalyne Connon, lost the second set on a tiebreaker after building a big lead and came back in the third.
"It was a little frustrating," said Tresedder, who held a 5-2 lead in the second set and dropped the tiebreaker 8-6. "But I just told myself to calm down, take a breath and get in the third set.
"I just had to slow down and concentrate a little more."
Tresedder, who snared the GNC No. 2 singles title last year, encountered a much improved Connon from earlier in the season. The Marquette junior played a lengthy semifinal before meeting Tresedder.
"I was just trying to play out points and when I had the chance to put it away," Tresedder said. "I would come to the net, stay with her and try to wear her out. But she did really good job. I give her credit."
Tresedder was happiest with the Flivvers' team trophy.
"It feels really awesome," she said.
"I'm proud of my teammates."
Shanks said Tresedder "has been playing great tennis."
"I'm happy that she's being aggressive with her shots," Shanks said. "She's really trying to be a shot maker. She's not sitting back and being satisfied with just getting it in. She's patient, waiting for the opportunity and driving the ball."
The Flivvers swept singles as No. 2 Janay Walters downed Gladstone's Lauren Parrett; No. 3 Santina Bianco spilled Bridget Becker of Gladstone, and freshman Katy Hicks prevailed at No. 4 over Menominee's Allison Odea.
Kingsford bested Escanaba for the Nos. 1 and 2 doubles titles. Anna Shanks-Kate Lamy needed three sets to upend Olivia Berquist-Shelby Gregoire and Ali VanRemortel-Jaelyn Jennings clipped Audrey Wilson-Breanna Dault.
Eskymos' Emily LaFave-Olivia LaForest hung a 7-5, 7-5 decision on the Flivvers' Megan VanPembrook-Taylor Jacobson for the No. 3 doubles championship. Abby Johnson-Kelsey Bennett of Kingsford triumphed over Marquette's Brenna Leafers-Aubrey Reynolds-Erspamer at No. 4 doubles.
"People are saying tennis is down right now," Shanks said. "But consistently through the lineup we've got stronger doubles. Almost everybody has stronger doubles than there has been for a long time. That says something for U.P. tennis."
Escanaba emerged with the No. 3 doubles title, two runners-up and two thirds.
"I've seen steady progress from my girls," Lueneberg said. "They compete hard. I saw a lot of good things and a lot of things we still need to work on.
"I'm encouraged by the progress. They don't have the experience of past years but that's part of high school tennis."
Escanaba No. 1 singles Johanna Snowden played three matches and eight hours of tennis Wednesday. She wound up third.
"She's playing like it really means something," Lueneberg said. "I've always been happy with the way these girls compete.
"It's just getting them to another level where they can dedicate themselves a little more so they can compete at a higher level."
Kingsford hosts the U.P. Division 1 tournament next Wednesday. The Flivvers will be up against Mid-Peninsula Conference champion Negaunee.
Great Northern Conference results follow:
Standings - Kingsford 47, Escanaba 31, Marquette 28, Menominee 24, Gladstone 22, West Iron County 17.
Singles - 1. Hannah Tresedder, K, def. Madalyne Connon, Mqt, 6-3, 6-7 (6), 6-2; Third - Johanna Snowden, E.
2. Janay Walters, K, def. Lauren Parrett, G, 5-7, 6-4, 6-1; Third - Laura Slavsky, Mqt.
3. Santina Bianco, K, def. Bridget Becker, G, 6-0, 7-6 (4); Third - Kiki Piwarski, West Iron County.
4. Katy Hicks, K, def. Allison Odea, Men, 6-3, 1-6, 6-4; Third - Hannah Beversluis, E.
Doubles -1. Anna Shanks-Kate Lamy, K, def. Olivia Berquist-Shelby Gregoire, E, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4; Third - Brianne Buhl-Taylor Rovin, Mqt.
2. Ali VanRemortel-Jaelyn Jennings, K, def. Audrey Wilson-Breanna Dault, E, 6-4, 6-4; Third - Amanda Gray-Mackenzie Verbeke, Mqt.
3. Emily LaFave-Olivia LaForest, E, def. Megan VanPembrook-Taylor Jacobson, K, 7-5, 7-5; Third - Mikayla Kewely-Jade LeMay, Men.
4. Abby Johnson-Kelsey Bennett, K, def. Brenna Leafers-Aubrey Reynolds-Erspamer, Mqt, 6-2, 7-5; Third - Madison McDonnell-Ali Christian, Men.