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Bringing home the conference hardware


Badger netters earn team championship, five individual titles at SLC meet



SOUTHERN LAKES MEET - Monday, Wilmot Badger individual champions No. 1 singles — Dean Schwefel (3-0). No. 2 singles — Dmitri Chironis (3-0). No. 4 singles — Mack Ruby (3-0). No. 1 doubles — Matt Heinz/Reid Solheim (3-0). No. 2 doubles — Kolin Harrigan/Colin Gardner (3-0).
May 18, 2011 | 08:33 AM
Wilmot — At the beginning of the spring tennis season, the goal was simple for the Badger boys squad — win the Southern Lakes title.

After last season's second-place finish to champion Waterford by one point, the team was poised to erase the bad taste from its mouth and achieve conference excellence.

It took three separate days and plenty of inclement weather, but the Badgers made it a clean sweep of the regular season and conference tournament titles with a dominant victory Monday at the SLC meet. Badger dominated the competition, earning 38 points, 10 ahead of second-place Westosha Central. Also, the Badgers boasted five individual champions.

The tournament, which started last Thursday but was suspended Saturday due to cold and rain, wrapped up Monday. It was a culmination of a perfect season where Badger was 7-0 in conference dual meets. Badger coach Marty Badt was ecstatic Monday after the banner night.

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"It was one of our goals coming into the season, and I am very happy," he said. "It's been a weird spring season with all the bad weather. But the kids really got into it Monday. A lot of kids stepped up and improved their games. The boys played well and deserved it. They left everything out there."

Individually, senior Dean Schwefel won his second straight SLC title at No. 1 singles with a perfect 3-0 record for the tournament. In the championship match, Schwefel downed Westosha Central's Alex Ferruzzi, 7-6 (7-0), 6-1.

"Dean's first set was close," Badt said of the finals. "The match was a little nerve-wracking. It was back-and-forth, but Dean dominated the tie-breaker then took the momentum."

Also, at No. 2 singles, senior Dmitri Chironis picked up his second straight SLC championship, finishing 3-0 in the tournament. He defeated Union Grove's Lenny Beetker in the finals, 6-3, 6-3. Badt said it was a smooth day for Chironis.

"Overall, he was pretty steady," Badt said. "Dmitri is very athletic, and he doesn't get too confident out there. He was in control out there."

Junior Mack Ruby earned his first SLC title at No. 4 singles (3-0). He took care of Burlington's Alex Oldenburg, 6-2, 6-3, in the finals.

"Mack had a solid performance," Badt said. "He was in control the whole finals match. It was Mack's first SLC final, and he was pretty nervous. His opponent was undefeated in the regular season. I'm really proud of Mack."

The No. 1 doubles squad of Matt Heinz and Reid Solheim also earned an SLC title, going 3-0 for the meet. They defeated Waterford in the final, 3-6, 6-2, 6-1.

"Matt and Reid didn't start well," Badt said. "But their experience and mental toughness came through."

Badger's final champion came at No. 2 doubles, where Kolin Harrigan and Colin Gardner went 3-0 for the meet and handled Elkhorn, 6-3, 6-2, in the finals. Badt was proud of the squad.

"The first set was close, but the guys finished strong," he said. "Kolin and Colin were in control in the second set and played great."

Badger also earned two second-place finishes. At No. 3 singles, junior Philipp Kleiner, a foreign exchange student, went 2-1 in the tournament. He lost in the championship match to Union Grove's Trevor Albrecht, 7-6 (8-6), 6-0.

"Philipp gave everything he had but just came up a bit short," Badt said. "He got close, but he eventually lost momentum."

The other second-place finisher was the No. 3 doubles team of Tom O'Brien and Colin Gordon. The boys went 2-1 for the meet despite losing 6-4, 6-4 to Westosha Central in the finals.

"It was close," Badt said. "There were a lot of points here and there not going our way. Anger and frustration got to them a little, but overall they had a great season. Second place is not bad."

Badt is hoping this momentum carries over into subsectionals Monday, May 23 at Janesville Parker.

"We're looking to finish what we started," he said. "We want to advance as many flights as we can. We are on the upswing of our games right now. We stand tall in the mental game. We're a little smarter than our opponents. The boys deserved conference, and it has been a good year."

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