River Hills — University School tennis coach Russ Trimble is hoping that the Wildcat players will one day be able to look back and fully appreciate the depth of their accomplishments.
The Wildcats claimed their fifth straight WIAA Division 2 state team championship with 6-1 victories over Green Bay Notre Dame and Madison Edgewood on Saturday at Nielsen Stadium in Madison.
'We've won five in a row and some schools have never had any (championships),' said Trimble, who coaches the team along with Stephen Bloch and Bob Buckley. 'Some schools have one, then they go dry for a while. I don't know if the kids realize how amazing it is, what they have done, the tradition they have built here.'
He said USM has been fortunate to have players with both talent and dedication.
'We (the coaches) have plenty of material to work with,' he continued. 'The kids are committed to tennis and play year-round. They are a great group of kids, too.'
Trimble said the Wildcats really only have one possible problem.
'We always tell the kids that they can't get complacent,' he said. 'They have to work hard and earn everything they get.'
To keep their attention, the coaches put together a rugged regular-season schedule. USM's only two dual losses this season came to Marquette and Homestead, the top two teams in Division 1, and the Wildcats beat such powers as Whitefish Bay and Kenosha Tremper.
Winners in the final dual against Notre Dame were junior Andrew Hwang at second singles, 6-1, 6-2; junior Rishi Karri at third singles, 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2; freshman Michael Lucas at fourth singles, 6-4, 7-5; the first doubles team of senior Matthew Hwang and sophomore Tyler Parks, 6-2, 6-2; the second unit of seniors John Rusch and Andy VandenBerg, 6-1, 6-7 (5-7), 6-1; and the third team of seniors Michael Black and Fitz Stratton, 6-2, 6-2.
Looking toward next season, the Wildcats return their entire singles lineup with junior Sam Walker in the first spot, followed by Andrew Hwang, Karri and Lukas. Hwang and Karri were also second and third in singles at the individual state meet this season.
In doubles, though, Parks is the lone returnee, so some rebuilding will be in order. The Wildcats, though, will likely be back contending for title number six at this time next year.
- John Rech