Varsity Tennis Season Recap

Varsity Tennis Season Recap

Tyler George, Sports Reporter

With expectations at an all time high, it was quite the task for the Ranger Varsity tennis team to live up to them. Coming fresh off of hanging a state championship banner for the second straight year, the boys made their quest for a 3-peat. With senior leadership, such as 1 doubles team Justin James and Reed Aleck, and veteran 3 singles player Jake Herbruck, the Rangers were poised for another big year. More key returners from last year’s state championship team included juniors Jacob Wiltjer (2 singles) and Connor Genschaw (1 singles). Wiltjer won the state championship back to back years at 4 singles, and took a big step forward to fill the void of graduate Cooper James. As for Connor, he has been the clear cut best player on the team the minute his Freshmen year began. Connor is still searching for his first individual state championship at the competitive 1 singles flight.

The solo flight to win the state championship was 2 doubles, consisting of Aidan Rynbrandt and Jack Ziegler. Both Aidan and Jack won it all at their respective flights last year, making it back to back championships for the pair. The Ranger team as a whole fell short to a phenomenal tennis school in Midland Dow. Dow was able to win most of the flights at state, which was not a surprise. For the Rangers, bringing a trophy back home is something they are becoming very familiar with.

“I’m extremely proud that our program has reached the elite level,” said head coach Dan Bolhouse, who’s been at FHC for four years now. “It’s a testament to our boys who work hard year round to make our program elite.”

Over the past six years, FHC tennis has consistently been labeled as one of the best teams in the state. In the past few years they’ve traded state title and runner-up trophies with the Chargers of Midland Dow. FHC has finished as one of the top two teams in the state in five of the last six seasons. Bolhouse knows that if the team wants success, they have to put the time in.

“We had a nice mix of seniors and juniors in the lineup,” Bolhouse said. “We also had a nice mix of players who hold themselves accountable and strive to be the best.”

Although the Rangers were lead by a strong group of upperclassmen, their 4 singles spot was occupied by a freshman. Freshman Nick Sjolin moved into the district this year and had a different experience at FHC than at his old school.

“Tennis at FHC is more competitive,” Nick said. “FHC works harder and are a lot more committed to their goals. My old school had 7 spots opposed to 12 at FHC.”

Being new to a district isn’t always an easy thing, and Nick had his worries early on.

“At first I felt a lot of pressure,” Nick said. “I wanted to be as good as some of the guys that had been on the team for two or three years. But as the season progressed I started to feel the pressure lessen. I realized that some of the guys had been in the same exact position in their freshman year.”

As Bolhouse looks forward to next year, it will be a year with new leaders and challenges.

“It will be a challenge to replace the five seniors we lose,” Bolhouse said. “We lose some excellent players and leadership from the experienced players. It gives the juniors the opportunity to step forward, take ownership, and become leaders for the team. I’m a big advocate of player-coached teams, and I value seniors that blossom into that role.”

For Nick, the next few years bring nothing but excitement.

“I am very excited to be a captain my senior year,” Nick said. “And I’m very excited to climb to the highest flight that I can get to.”