ESCANABA — Every week has handed for the reason that Escanaba Eskymos have been topped Higher Peninsula Division tennis champions with reminiscences that may doubtless final a lifetime.
“It was emotional and thrilling, most likely some of the rewarding experiences I’ve had,” stated fifth-year coach Tom Penegor. “Not solely do you expertise the thrill surrounding the occasion — as a coach you see what they need to do completely different — however you possibly can’t exit and do it for them.
The Eskymos scored 19 factors for his or her first title in 14 years, adopted by host and three-time defending champ Negaunee 13 and Menominee 10.
“The blokes had been very motivated and hungry,” stated Penegor. “They went out and took the title. It wasn’t given to them. We wished the youngsters to win every match. We didn’t need them to consider it. We simply wished them to exit and do it.
“Hats off to Menominee, which gained a three-setter, and Negaunee, which gained a three-setter at No. 4 singles. They (Negaunee) put the work and time in. We used them as our mannequin in that we needed to do the identical factor. The crew in 2018 was most likely simply as gifted, however they weren’t as hungry as this yr’s crew. It’s important to work laborious each day to seek out out what works for them.”
Previous to the championship spherical, the trail to the title turned somewhat longer because the groups skilled a three-hour rain delay.
“As coaches, we sit down and contemplate the scenario,” stated Penegor. “How do you react to that? We’re very happy with them. They actually did effectively. What I believe helped us goes by a powerful problem within the Nice Northern Convention meet (Might 27 at Marquette). I believe we gained some psychological toughness.”
The Eskymos gained that meet for the primary time since 2003, additionally marking the primary time since 1999 they had been GNC and U.P. champs in the identical yr.
“We have now fairly a number of guys coming again,” stated Penegor. “We’ll positively be senior-oriented subsequent yr. I respect my spouse being affected person and letting me exit and coach these children and share my time with them and our assistant coaches (Chris Ogren and Alan Adams) for all their help. I’m very blessed to have them and nice children and oldsters. I additionally need to thank God for offering me with this chance.”
Amongst these anticipated to return are reigning No. 3 singles champion Nathan Howes and No. 2 doubles champs Isaac Maki and Dawson Williams.
Viktor Pospisil and Ryan Moreau (No. 1 doubles) and Tanner McDonald-Jordan Nance (No. 3 doubles) have departed as U.P. champions.
This system has a wealthy historical past regardless of the prior absence of GNC and U.P. titles.
“We had a number of (NCAA) Division 1 gamers come by the ranks at Escanaba,” stated Penegor. “We had some good groups and gamers within the ’70s and ’80s.”
Amongst them are Dennis Lueneburg, Tom Mitchell and Paul Pertile, all of whom performed at Western Michigan College.
Penegor says he’s impressed with a few of the amenities within the U.P.
“Marquette, Negaunee, Westwood and Kingsford all have state-of-the-art courts,” he added. “It will actually be good to have a few of these right here.”
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