BREMEN — As the 45th Annual Boys State Tennis Tournament gets underway today, a pair of area teams are looking to continue some impressive runs.
Plymouth is looking for its 15th straight sectional championship at the Bremen tournament, while Culver Military Academy is seeking an eighth consecutive title at the Culver Academies tilt. Both programs are vying for their 22nd overall sectional championship.
“It’s a few in a row,” said Plymouth Head Boys Tennis Coach Michael Delp. “It’s one of those things that at some year at some point in time it’ll be broken, but we go into it every year with the idea that we want to defend that title and knowing that we probably have a target on our back from some of the other teams, and this one won’t be any different. There are some very good teams in there with the potential of taking that title away.”
“We’re certainly the heavy favorite; I don’t think there’s any doubt about it,” said CMA head coach Alan Loehr. “I don’t think there are any cliches or anything that I could tell you, but we’re definitely the heavy favorite.”
The Eagles open home tourney play with Rochester tonight at 5:30 p.m., while Knox looks for a single-season-record-tying 11th win against a North Judson squad it defeated at the beginning of the season on Aug. 22, also at 5:30 p.m. tonight. The winners will play in the championship at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.
The Pilgrims open Bremen Sectional play with a match against a young John Glenn squad today at 4:30 p.m. Bremen enters tournament play fresh from a Northern State Conference Tournament championship against LaVille, while overall NSC champion Triton will take on the winner of Plymouth-Glenn in a pair of semifinals Thursday. The championship is slated for 4:30 p.m. Friday.
“We got rained out tonight, so we just talked after school about how we focus on one game at a time,” said Delp. “Really, in tennis your opponent is a big thing, but it’s not like in other sports where you have a big scouting report or something like that. It’s more about executing what you want to do so we’ve just got to make sure we’re focused on that. We expect a tough match.”
“Triton and Bremen both were competitive matches this year,” the Plymouth boss continued. “The Triton match ended up being a lopsided score, but it was definitely not that lopsided the first time around. I think they just came off an NSC championship as a team, and that’s their first one of those, I believe… so they have to be feeling fairly confident coming off of that from last night. And I know Bremen’s always tough on their home court. We’re not looking past Glenn, but if you look at the rest of the field there’s definitely some tough matches waiting for whoever comes through that.”
CMA is primed for the tournament with a revamped lineup after moving Eric Madhaut and Wil Rettinger up from doubles to 2 and 3 singles, respectively.
“I feel like our team is playing its best tennis of the season right now. We’ve settled the lineup; we have excellent senior leadership in Wilson (Wu), Wil (Rettinger) and Jack (Mitzell),” said Loehr.
“Wil and a boy by the name of Eric Madhuit were playing doubles for us, but in playing Penn and seeing Warsaw and understanding what Plymouth has, we felt that this lineup was the most competitive.”
Not only are the Eagles fired up to continue their sectional streak, but they’re excited to host regional and semistate rounds in this year’s state series, with the regional set to take place Oct. 4-5 and the semistate set to convene on Saturday, Oct. 8.
The winner of the Culver Sectional will play the Peru winner, while the Bremen Sectional champion will face the Warsaw champion in the other semifinal match at the regional tourney on Tuesday, Oct. 4. There is no cost to attend the regional, but semistate tickets are $5 per person as the CMA Regional winner takes on the winner at Portage while the winners at Kokomo and Munster square off in the second match with the championship match to follow later in the day.
“I think what’s most exciting for us is the opportunity to shine hosting the regional and the semistate this year,” Loehr said. “That’s really exciting for us, and it’s beginning to sink in that for a variety of reasons we’ve been chosen, given the honor of hosting these high-level stages for the IHSAA tournament. We just want to do a very good job of representing Culver and Marshall County in these regional and semistate rounds so that we can continue to garner the kind of tennis that will come through here. I think looking ahead, our results notwithstanding and Bremen’s, I think it’s likely that the number one team in the state and a really unbelievable team (Carmel) is going to be right here. We’ll have the opportunity to see them play on Saturday, the eighth of October, and we want to make sure everyone comes out to watch that.”