Tennis Cardinals send 5 to state

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Middleton’s Noor Rajpal (left) and Jessica Pientka (right) qualified for the individual state tennis tournament./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

There is no such thing as a rebuilding year inside Middleton’s girls’ tennis program.

The Cardinals only reload.

That was evident once again at last Thursday’s WIAA Division 1 Waunakee Sectional.

Middleton, which was hit hard by graduation after the 2018 campaign, came oh, so close to winning the sectional title. In the process, though, the Cardinals did have five players qualify for this week’s individual state tournament.

Madison West won the sectional with 34 points and earned a trip to team state. Middleton was second with 33 points and Madison Memorial was third at 31. All three teams are ranked in the top-10 in the state.

“Given the final scores, it is clear that there were tiny differences between Madison West, our Middleton team, and Madison Memorial,” Middleton coach Terry Geurkink said. “Kudos to Madison West for earning the one-point win. We certainly wanted to win the sectional championship, but our players all competed at a high level, and we were pleased to win the sectional runners-up plaque.”

If there was any consolation it was that the Cardinals will be well-represented at individual state.

Middleton’s top doubles team of senior Jessica Pientka and junior Noor Rajpal (25-8) are the No. 12 seed and open against Mukwonago’s Kelly Muehlenkamp and Alle Lewis (18-9) Thursday at 1:30 p.m.

“Jessica has been a standout varsity player for four years, and this year is also the team captain,” Geurkink said. “Noor has been a varsity player for three years, and she and Jessica have been doubles partners for three years. The No. 12 seed is a testament to all the work they have put in over the years to hone their tennis skills, and their high level of play.”

Junior Cece Hujanen and sophomore Rose Ryan (30-3) also qualified and will open against Alex Andrae and Zoe Larson of Cedarburg (24-6) Thursday at 1 p.m. The duo won the Big Eight Conference title and a sectional championship at No. 2 doubles.

“This doubles pair has played together on varsity for two years, and they have a sterling record,” Geurkink said.  

Freshman Sophia Agapov, Middleton’s No. 1 singles player, also earned a trip to state.

Agapov (17-13) will meet Brookfield East’s Emma Lo (9-8) Thursday at 10:30 a.m.

“Sophia was awarded a special qualifier into the state tournament, because our sub-sectional and sectional was loaded with top No. 1 singles players, and because Sophia had some significant wins over strong players during the season,” Geurkink said. “Sophia has done well as a freshman, and has a bright tennis future ahead of her.”



Waunakee sectional

Team scores: Madison West 34, Middleton 33, Madison Memorial 31, Onalaska 23, La Crosse Logan 22, Verona 20, La Crosse Central 13, Waunakee 12, Holmen 8, Baraboo 7, Tomah 6, Oregon 2, Reedsburg 2, Sparta 2, Madison East 0, Portage 0, Sauk Prairie 0.

Automatic state qualifiers — Madison West 3; Middleton 2; Onalaska 2; Madison Memorial 1; Verona 1; Waunakee 1.


No. 1 — Championship: M. Bremel, MW, def. Conley, V, 6-4, 4-6, 10-4. Third place: Olson, MM, def. Laux, On, 6-2, 6-1. Semifinals: Conley def. Laux, 6-1, 6-1; Bremel def. Olson, 6-0, 6-4. Quarterfinals: Laux def. S. Agapov, Mid, 6-4, 3-6, 10-7; Conley def. Stitt, Hol, 6-0, 6-0; Olson def. Szymanski, LCL, 6-1, 6-2; Bremel def. Thomson, T, 6-0, 6-0.

No. 2 — Championship: A. Bremel, MW, def. Zhou, MM, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5. Third place: Brown, On, def. Endrizzi, LCL, 6-3, 6-1. Semifinals: Bremel def. Brown, 6-0, 6-0; Zhou def. Endrizzi, 6-0, 6-0.

No. 3 — Championship: Remesh, MM, def. Lin, MW, 6-1, 6-2. Third place: Roswall, LCL, def. Yoo, On, 7-6 (4), 6-2. Semifinals: Lin def. Yoo, 6-0, 6-0; Remesh def. Roswall, 6-1, 6-2.

No. 4 — Championship: Jiang, MM, def. Zhang, Mid, 6-2, 6-1. Third place: Roberts, LCL, def. Mihalovic, Hol, 6-0, 7-5. Semifinals: Zhang def. Roberts, 6-3, 6-0; Jiang def. Mihalovic, 6-0, 6-0.


No. 1 — Championship: Vadas/Knigge, MW, def. Ripp/Sowinski, Wau, 6-2, 6-1. Third place: Pientka/Rajpal, Mid, def. F. Leithold/C. Leithold, On, 6-3, 6-2. Semifinals: Ripp/Sowinski def. Leithold/Leithold, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6; Vadas/Knigge def. Pientka/Rajpal, 6-4, 6-3. Quarterfinals: Leithold/Leithold def. Keyes/Breitbach, V, 6-2, 6-3; Ripp/Sowinski def. Pasch/Jarrett, LCL, 6-2, 6-3; Pientka/Rajpal def. Koppie/Lewison, 6-1, 6-1; Vadas/Knigge def. Benseman/Peyer, R, 6-0, 6-0.

No. 2 — Championship: Ryan/Hujanen, Mid, def. Saley/Samz, V, 6-4, 6-3. Third place: Blake/Masewicz, LCC, def. Hitchler/Hoskin, On, 7-5, 6-1. Semifinals: Ryan/Hujanen def. Hitchler/Hoskin, 6-0, 6-1; Samz/Saley def. Blake/Masewicz, 6-3, 6-2.

No. 3 — Championship: Newcomer/N. Agapov, Mid, def. Rogers/Statz, Wau, 6-4, 6-2. Third place: Cleary/Bildsten, B, def. Steinhoff/Kuehl, T, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 7-5. Semifinals: Rogers/Statz def. Cleary/Bildsten, 6-4, 6-0; Agapov/Newcomer def. Steinhoff/Kuehl, 6-0, 6-0.



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