By CRAIG REMSBURG
For The Daily News
MARQUETTE - Kingsford placed netters in all eight flights and won six of them to clinch the Great Northern Conference tennis title Thursday.
Matt Wellens/Mining Journal Photo
Kingsford’s Brady Hicks returns a shot to Marquette’s Matt Collins during the No. 2 singles final of the Great Northern Conference boys tennis meet on Thursday.
Kingsford rolled to its second straight GNC crown with 38 points. MSHS and Menominee posted 26 each, followed by West Iron County (18), Escanaba (10) and Gladstone (2).
"We probably did a little better than I thought," KHS Flivvers head coach Mark Shanks said. "I knew we'd be either the No. 1 or No. 2 seed in every flight and we were first in three and five in second. That buys yourself a spot into the semis.
"Getting into the finals in each flight surprised me a little, though. You anticipate getting tripped up once or twice.
"Team depth was the key for us," he added. "We won 3-of-4 doubles matches and the points we got out of there was a huge shift for us."
Kingsford's Adam Szabo rallied for a 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 win over Marquette's Josh Downs at No. 1 singles. He's now 3-1 vs. the Marquette netter this season.
"I had a poor attitude in the first set, and was scared and nervous," Szabo said. "But just picked it up and stayed positive the rest of the way.
"In the second set, I took a couple of deep breaths and played more aggressively. I started to hit some hard shots back at (Downs).
"I laid off trying to kill my first serve in the third set. On my backhand, I tried to hit it deeper on the court and took my forehand winners when I could down the line or cross-court."
Kingsford also prevailed at No. 1 doubles, where Joseph Gregory and Daniel Harrington claimed a 6-3, 6-3 triumph over Menominee's Ryan Woods and Caleb Kleiman.
"We had a shaky start in both sets, but then picked it up," Gregory said. "We played the net well and had a very good serving game."
Added Harrington: "We like to be aggressive at the net, make the other team beat you with good shots. We focused harder in both sets after the first few games."
Menominee's lone win came at No. 4 doubles, where Colin Nerat and Nick Cattani knocked off Kingsford's David Fornetti and Kevin LeClaire, 6-1, 7-6 (7-5).
"We weren't focused early in the second set," Cattani said. "But we got our heads back together."
Said Nerat: "(Kingsford) played well, but our shots weren't falling (early). We tried to get to the net more later in that set."
Marquette's Noah Gannon outlasted Kingsford's Chris Roell 6-7 (2-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 for the No. 3 singles title.
"My opponent put up a good match," Gannon said. "I didn't finish my opportunities (in the first set), but was able to capitalize in the last two sets."
He was down in the second set 4-1 before rallying for the win.
"I just focused more on where to place the ball," Gannon said. 'In the third set, I just wanted it more.
"I utilized my slice more and just had a better all-around game."
Great Northern Conference Meet
Thursday at Marquette
Team scores: Kingsford, 38; 2. Marquette and Menominee, 26 apiece; 4. West Iron County, 18; 5. Escanaba, 10; 6. Gladstone 2
SINGLES - No. 1 - Adam Szabo (K) def. Josh Downs (MQT), 2-6, 6-2, 6-2; No. 2 - Brady Hicks (K) def. Matt Collins (MQT), 6-3, 6-0; No. 3 - Noah Gannon (MQT) def. Chris Roell (K), 6-7 (2-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-3; No. 4 - Alek Shanks (K) def. Justin Flood (MQT), 6-3, 6-2.
DOUBLES - No. 1 - Joseph Gregory-Daniel Harrington (K) def. Ryan Woods-Caleb Kleiman (MEN), 6-3, 6-3; No. 2 - Joe Hofer-David McCole (K) def. Chad Schuelke-Nathan Gunderson (MEN), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3; No. 3 - Alex Wiitanen-Noah Voss (K) def. Aaron Maas-Adam Nolde (MEN), 6-2, 6-3; No. 4 - Colin Nerat-Nick Cattani (MEN) def David Fornetti-Kevin LeClaire, 6-1, 7-6 (7-5).