Division 2 All-UP girls tennis team; Mongrain named Player of the Year
Celello named coach of the year; IM, WIC and Norway land first teamers
IRON MOUNTAIN — The 2020 Division 2 girls tennis All-U.P. team was released earlier this week, as selected by the region’s seven Division 2 coaches.
A local senior and local first-year head coach were named player of the year and coach of the year.
Iron Mountain No. 1 singles player Claire Mongrain expressed excitement in winning player of the year, and credited her coaches and peers.
“Being selected for this award is something I have dreamt about,” Mongrain said. “It makes me feel like my hard work has paid off.”
The gratitude Mongrain expressed was for her high school coaches, first and foremost “Mr. T” as Mongrain called him, the late Tony Tatangelo, who coached the Lady Mountaineers during Mongrain’s freshman and sophomore seasons. In 2019, Sharon Ducat coached the team.
This season, first-year coach Marcus Celello took over the squad, earning coach of the year honors.
“Matty McCormick has been around our team for my whole high school career,” Mongrain added. “She’s like a team mom to us, but she’s always been a calming type person for me. Helping me keep focused and keep my head when I got frustrated.”
Mongrain points to Jenna Nolde of Menominee and Lily Nelson of Negaunee as being her toughest opponents in the regular season. “Livea (Mazurek) from West Iron, her and I battled all year, and in the finals at U.P.’s, I always enjoyed playing her, she’s a great player,” Mongrain said.
Playing tennis is something Mongrain has been doing for most of her life. She noted that she started in the Iron Mountain-Kingsford Community Schools tennis program in the summers, at age 5.
“I’d spend two to four hours per day, four or five days a week every summer playing tennis. Kingsford graduates Alec Tuchowski, Dalton Allen and Alexis Truscott were who coached me,” Mongrain said. “They were high schoolers, so I wanted to be like them, I wanted to be the best.”
Celello said the coach of the year award was a result of the team’s success.
“Certainly not because of me, but because of the season the girls had,” said Celello. “Our senior leadership, Claire (Mongrain) and Arianna (Morel), and the hard work the whole team put in, I wouldn’t have won this award without the girls’ accomplishments.”
Celello took the coaching position about three weeks before the season started.
“Not only had I not coached tennis, I never played it. I had to learn throughout the season, and the girls taught me a lot,” said Celello. “I read up and studied as much as I could before the season started and throughout the season also.”
Celello pointed to senior Chloe Bianco as a valuable member of the team. Bianco was unable to play during the season, due to an injury sustained in basketball last winter.
“Chloe stepped into a senior leadership role. She kept everyone’s morale high and kept us all on the right track, including me,” Celello said.
He praised Mongrain’s leadership as well.
“I am so proud of Claire, to see the work she puts in everyday, she’s deserves this award,” he said. “To watch the way she led this team, making sure everyone was practicing the right way, and playing the right way. I definitely couldn’t have gone through the season, let alone win this award without her.”
U.P. Division 2 Girls Tennis All-U.P. Team
Player of the Year: Claire Mongrain Iron Mountain
Coach of the Year: Marcus Celello Iron Mountain
Division 2 All-UP 1st Team Singles
Claire Mongrain, Iron Mountain; Livea Mazurek, West Iron County; Ella Luke, Ishpeming; Zaida Lagalo, Ironwood; Logan Peters, Munising; Ashley Scott, Gwinn; Kali Stanchina, Norway; Arianna Morel, Iron Mountain; Kali Applin, West Iron County; Lily Kerry, Gwinn
Division 2 All-UP Honorable Mention Singles
Mackenzie Richardson, Munising
Aurora Dahl, West Iron County
Division 2 All-UP 1st Team Doubles
Tori Bociek/Madison Berutti-West Iron County; Mackenzie Malette/Alyssa Whitaker- Gwinn; Ella DeMarois/Jocelynn Nyman-Ishpeming; Bella Brown/Aziza Burgoon-Iron Mountain; Skylar Campbell/Maci Cornish-Munising; Danika Juul/Natalia Brown-Iron Mountain
Division 2 All-UP Honorable Mention Doubles
Leliah Anderson/Lexi Holm-Ironwood; Kassandra Gyselinck/Gabby Leiker-Norway; Lori Mattson/Payton Cotey-Munising