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West Iron netters capture Division 2 UP Championship; IM a close runner-up

(Matt McCarthy/Daily News photo) West Iron County’s girls tennis team won the Division 2 U.P. Championship Thursday at the Kingsford High School Tennis Facility. From left, front, are Estella Ramirez, Tori Bociek, Livea Mazurek, Callista Bartomeolli; back, head coach Joe Serbentas, Aubrey Rice, Sadie Donati, Autum Smith, Bailey Hoffart, Hailee Bradshaw, Madison Berutti, Aurora Dahl, Kali Applin, assistant coach John Spelgatti. Not Pictured: Brynlee Nodurft and Kat Hemeleski.

By MATT “SWEETS” McCARTHY

Sports Writer

KINGSFORD — U.P. girls tennis finals wrap up a jam-packed season that lasts around six weeks, with usually only a week of practice that begins in mid-August. The hectic schedule and hard work payed off for West Iron.

The Wykon girls captured their first Division 2 U.P. championship since 2005 on Thursday at the Kingsford High School Tennis Facility. West Iron was able to break through and take home first place, after finishing runner-up to Westwood the last four years.

Runner-up this year went to the Lady Mountaineers; Iron Mountain was edged by WIC 13-12, with third place finisher Munising one point behind Iron Mountain with 11.

“Three of our four runner-up finishes were by one point,” said Wykons veteran head coach Joe Serbentas. With the MHSAA moving the enrollment cut-off between the two U.P. girls tennis divisions prior to the season, Westwood got placed in Division 1 this fall.

“I was proud of the way our team hung in there today after a few early setbacks. The final two matches we were in decided this very close tournament,” Serbentas said. “Kali Applin at No. 2 singles played her heart out and was able to walk away with a third set victory to clinch the title outright for us.”

Applin defeated Iron Mountain’s Arianna Morel in a long, well-played match by both players. Had Morel been victorious, the tournament would have finished in a tie for the championship.

“Arianna played incredibly hard today, as she did the entire season,” said Iron Mountain coach Marcus Celello. “All the girls worked hard today, and throughout the whole season. While some of them may not have won their flights, they played great this season, and they have every reason to keep their heads held high. While we may not have earned the team finish we hoped for, I am so proud of my girls.”

The Mountaineers Claire Mongrain defeated West Iron’s Livea Mazurek in the finals of No. 1 singles. “Claire Mongrain showed she is the best player in Division 2 with her first-place finish today. She has battled every time out this year, and she remained undefeated against Division 2 opponents this season,” Celello said.

IM’s Danika Juul and Natalia Brown took home the No. 2 doubles championship. “I am proud of the work Danika and Natalia put in all season. They worked incredibly well together as a doubles team, and they put it all together today to earn their first-place finish,” Celello added.

Aurora Dahl’s win at No. 3 singles sealed at least a share of the championship for the Wykons. Tori Bociek-Madison Berutti won the No. 1 doubles championship, defeating Aziza Burgoon-Bella Brown of the Mountaineers.

“Madison (Berutti) made improvements both at the net and with groundstrokes as the year progressed to compliment Tori well at 1 doubles. Tori has been a stalwart at the top doubles spot for the last 3 years and will be a tough person to replace in the doubles lineup,” said Serbentas.

“Livea Mazurek was a great leader and captain throughout the year and although she came up short in the finals against a very good Claire Mongrain. Livea’s contributions at No. 1 singles helped make our other singles players better,” Serbentas added.

Norway competed in U.P’s Thursday as well. With their limited roster, the Lady Knights competed for individual flight placements.

“Our No. 2 doubles Averie Popp-Andi Carlson advanced to semi finals and they really played well fighting into a third set but eventually losing 4-6,” said Norway coach Cassandra Gustafson.

Additional photos and the full listing of flight scores from the event will be published in the Saturday edition of the Daily News.

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