MADISON — Solomon Duncerne, a sophomore in Neneh, turned down his rejection as he controlled freshman Ethan Poe of Middleton to win the WIAA Division I singles tennis championship on Saturday afternoon.
The Ninha duo of Nolan Kobek and Khaled Saleh finished their season 35-2 while the Rockets finished fourth, falling to Henry Irwin and Red Scullen of Brookfield East in a third-place playoff, 4-6, 6-1, (10-2). ).
In Division 2, the Xavier doubles team of Nick Bittner and Nate Hall finished fourth, falling to college-school Joey Darrow and Jack Savage, 6-4, 6-3.
Doncern never lags behind as he netted a 6-2, 6-0 victory in the title match at the Nielsen Tennis Court.
“It feels great,” Duncerne said. “I’ve been remembering this moment for a while. This is a dream of mine, my goal. I was watching when I was younger, all the guys here are going crazy. Being out there is a special moment for me.”
Dunsirn had a plan to play and stuck to it.
“Just keep the pedal on the metal,” he said. “(Ethan) is a good player and when he goes into an area he really takes some good shots and plays really well. I know I had to keep the pressure on him on every point, stick to my game, trust my shots. Overall, I feel it was a great moment. Glad to do it for Nina.”
Although he was one year older than Bo, he took advantage of opportunity all around.
“I did,” Duncerne said. “I was taking more shots, getting more comfortable with his style of play. I found some cracks and crannies in his game which I took advantage of. I really took advantage of him and really beat him and I did.”
Rockets coach Kyle Falk said he was impressed with the way Doncern handled the game.
“It’s unbelievable,” Falk said. “It’s been several years since Nina was a singles player on the podium. And that really credited him. He put in a lot of work on his own time. So many late nights, so many long weekends in preparation for that. It wasn’t easy.
“He got it and it’s something I and our tennis family are proud of at Nina. It’s something very special.”
Falk said Duncern was relentless in his quest to win the championship.
“As the match went on, he raised his level of play,” Falk said. “He wanted to be in the driver’s seat all the way and he definitely did. What I liked the most was how focused he was on his game and how focused he was on playing the points he wanted to play.
“Just dominating the pitch. One of the things we talk about is owning the pitch and I think he did that, not just today, but in the entire tournament. He owned it.”
Solomon Dancerne is the fifth Neinah player to win the state singles title, joining Don Foot (1946), John Wittlinger (1969-1972), John Thompson (1993) and Tom Chicken (1995).
Nina’s team, the best in doubles, took 4th place
Kobek and Salah entered the tournament unbeaten, but their momentum ran out on Saturday.
“I am very proud of our seniors, who finished fourth today,” Falk said. “They have had such a lasting impact on our team, not only in terms of what they have done in the past four years, but the standard they have set for future tennis players at Neenah has been amazing.
“And the way they represented our team on the court was something every coach would hope for. They always compete. They never think of themselves. They are always there to play some good tennis. They are fun to watch and I’m so proud of them.”
Kubik said he was pleased with the way he and Saleh competed.
“I thought we played a really great tournament,” Kubik said. “We beat some of these teams we’ve faced in the tournament in the past. We played really strong duos. They got the best of us today.”
Saleh agreed with his marital partner.
“We were not only the best team that day,” Saleh said. “I don’t think there’s much to say. I thought we played well. Arrowhead and (Brookfield) East played better. I’m proud of the way we played. Clearly unbeaten in the regular season was a huge achievement. Fourth place in a very competitive year in Doubles is not an easy task.
“So I’m definitely proud of the way we played. I don’t think we played badly in the tournament, I just think some teams have risen to another level.”
The Xavier duo also occupies fourth place in the second division doubles
Xavier Bitner and Hull finished their season at 23-6.
“It is a huge achievement to finish our second year on the podium,” said Hall. “We could have upped our game a little bit today in the semi-finals and the third place match, but that’s what it is. The other players are good teams and we are a good team too.
“We know what it’s going to be for the state, and next year we’ll be hungry to take the state title home. We know what it feels like to lose at the end of this year, so we’ll be back next year.”
Bitner also hopes the pair will return.
“That’s our goal, which is to reach the semi-finals this year,” Bitner said. “We are just sophomores and we are hungry to come back next year. It’s been a great season.”
St Mary’s Catholic Wesley Uth finished fifth in the Division 2 singles, 6-4, 6-1 victory over Plymouth’s Garren Baltus.