M-PC tennis: Negaunee boys snare third-straight league title
ISHPEMING – With morning snow showers, wind chill temperatures struggling to get to 30 degrees and gusty north winds 20-25 mph, it was not a good day for tennis in Ishpeming on Thursday.
Except for the Negaunee High School boys tennis squad, however.
Competing in 7 of 8 finals matches and winning four of them, the Miners won their third straight Mid-Peninsula Conference title with 39 points to runner-up Iron Mountain’s 29.
Ishpeming placed third with 19 points, followed by Gwinn (16), Westwood (13) and Norway (4).
“It’s nice to get this one, especially in a transition year,” NHS head coach Kyle Saari said, adding the Miners have claimed six of the last eight conference crowns. “It’s a nice accomplishment.”
Senior Cody Tossava at No. 1 singles led the way for Negaunee. Undefeated since his last match in his freshman season, he beat Norway’s Randy Mueller, 6-0, 6-1.
“I played well today. Both my forehand and backhand were cooking,” Tossava said. “I really hit the ball well.”
He said snow showers that began in the middle of his first match of the day were “weird.”
“It didn’t affect my grip, but it took me longer to warm up,” Tossava said. “It took me a couple of games to get going.”
Saari said his tennis ace is “the definition of consistency” on the court.
“He’s real intense, passionate about the game and a real competitor,” the coach said.
Tossava wasn’t the only Negaunee winner, however. Rob Sertich at No. 3 singles, Mike Anderson at No. 4 and the No. 2 doubles unit of Alex Roth and Tony Moyle also won their flights.
“We moved Alex up to No. 2 doubles and that unit fought well,” Saari said. “But singles is our strength … and our team depth was the key (today).”
Ishpeming’s Guillermo Ansede gave his team a victory at No. 2 singles. He outlasted Negaunee’s Ryan Sertich in a long match, 5-7, 6-1, 6-4.
Iron Mountain dominated the doubles competition, with Gerry Pirkola and Max Frorenza at No. 1, Nick Cecconi and Jacob Mongrain at No. 3, and Jordan Wadja and Trevor Schetter at No. 4 all claiming championships.
“Everything went well, but in our first match (of the day), we struggled against Gwinn in the snow,” Frorenza said after the duo’s 6-1, 6-2 win over Westwood’s Derek Wing and Andy Duquette.
“This (win) feels good. Last year, we came up short.”
Pirkola said he and Frorenza didn’t let the poor weather conditions “get in our head.”
“We kept the ball in play, too,” he said.
IM head coach Greg Stegall said the tandem has been “outstanding all year.”
“They’re seasoned and find a way to get the job done,” he said. “They make (on court) adjustments and never lose their composure.”
Stegall was somewhat disappointed in the team results, however.
“We put all our doubles units into the finals, but we had a few disappointments in singles,” said. “Losing No. 2 doubles hurt us the most, though. A win there might have made a difference.”
Reaching the finals before losing included local netters Micah Heath of Gwinn at No. 3 singles; Ben Luke and Micah Johnson of Negaunee at No. 3 doubles; and Parker Bowman and Jacob Paupore of Negaunee at No. 4 doubles.
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251.