Tennis: Wykons repeat GNC title

Holden Ross, one of 10 sophomores in the West Iron County starting lineup, took the first set but wound up bowing to unbeaten Alec Olivier of Marquette for the Great Northern Conference No. 1 singles championship Thursday. (Burt Angeli/The Daily News)

KINGSFORD — The young West Iron County Wykons repeated as team champions and Marquette’s Alec Olivier remained unbeaten in the Great Northern Conference boys tennis tournament Thursday.

The Wykons, with a lineup of 10 sophomores, chalked up 29 points to win the seven-team tournament. Runner-up Marquette had 20, followed by tournament host Kingsford 11, Escanaba 8, Munising 7, Menominee 5 and Gladstone zero.

“Going in we set ourselves up well with regular season play in the seeds that we got,” said Coach Joe Serbentas, his Wykons with four No. 1 seeds. “For the most part, the guys performed and did what they were supposed to according to the seeding.”

The Wykons reached the finals of every flight except No. 1 doubles. They took singles and doubles titles at Nos. 2 through 4.

Sophomore Holden Ross threatened to stun Olivier at No. 1 singles, winning the first set 7-5 before bowing 6-1, 6-4 in the next two. Serbentas believes that was only the second set that Olivier has lost in his UP prep career.

“Holden gave him a heck of a battle,” Serbentas said. “He came out on fire in the first set. That was a real good brand of tennis to see. It’s high-level stuff. Both guys went at each other.”

Serbentas said one of Ross’ goals was to at least take a set from Olivier.

“I’m proud of Holden because one of his goals was to compete with Alec this year knowing what kind of player he is,” Serbentas said. “Holden has a lot of respect for him.”

WIC took two through four singles with senior James Swanson, Mick Ballinger and Alex Wickstrom. Marquette’s Nick Olivier and Kevin Zhang along with Escanaba’s Shaun Beauchamp garnered runner-up honors.

In the lone flight not involving WIC, Tyler Beauchamp and Reece Fortner of Kingsford captured No. 1 doubles by rallying past Munising’s Landon Peters-Eli Werner in three sets.

West Iron’s Nolan Anderson-Lucas Isaacson downed Munising’s Ross Holloway-Guillermo Sese for No. 2 doubles honors. The Wykons beat Marquette in the next two flights, with Drew Hebert-Logan Horton over Beau Belkowski-Robert Apple and Cole Alexa-Lucas Shovald over Jack Franchino-Casey Yaden.

“Any time you can do that at these multi-team tournaments it’s a big deal,” Serbentas said of his Wykons playing in seven finals. “You have the team depth you need to win a championship.

“But you have to finish at the end and it came down to us and Marquette, and Marquette has a nice team. They’re well coached with Charlie (Drury). They’re tough. The Oliviers are great players.

“But it was a day we knew we had set up for ourselves with the seeds and if everybody did what they could do we had a feeling we would be OK.”

WIC completes the season Wednesday in the MHSAA UP Division 2 tournament at Westwood.