Tennis league tourneys coming up
This is the week where it really starts to sink in ... it's almost over.
I mean, we still have 2+ weeks left to go, but it's going to cruise on by, really quick. The first of the league tournaments gets underway Tuesday when the OAA Red and White tournaments take place.
The OAA Red Tournament begins around 8:30 a.m. at three sites, with North Farmington playing the host. First singles and first and second doubles will be at North Farmington High, 2-3-4 singles at Harrison and 3-4-5 doubles at Farmington High.
Troy enters the tournament as the clear-cut favorite. The Colts finished 7-0 in the dual matches and earned No. 1 seeds at seven of the nine flights. Brett Forman, Vinai Reddy and Michael Faber are top seeds at Nos. 1-3 singles, while Troy's Saumil Shah and Pramod Mulabagula (No. 1), Raghav Prahbu and Andrae Ingram (No. 3), Kevin Fietsam and Sachin Ketkar (No. 4) and Adi Das and Vince Thiu (No. 5) earned top seeds in doubles.
Rochester Adams' Eric Chang is the top seed at No. 4 singles. His Highlanders were 5-2 in the regular season and enter the tournament in second place. Andover (4-2), Groves (4-3) and West Bloomfield (4-3) finished tied for third - each with four wins in league play. Stoney Creek finished sixth at 1-5, as did Lahser and North Farmington (both 1-6). West Bloomfield's Daniel Wu and Gabe Villa are the No. 1 seed at No. 2 doubles.
Troy is the defending league champion. Andover won the league tournament last year.
Over in the OAA White, Troy Athens will host the league tournament. No. 1-2 singles, along with 3-doubles will be played at the hosts high school, while 3-singles, 1-doubles and 5-doubles will be at Troy High and 2-doubles, 4-doubles and 4-singles will be at Boulan Park.
Seaholm finished a perfect 6-0 in league play, with Troy Athens finishing a close second at 5-1. The Maples beat the Red Hawks 5-4 last month. Between the two teams, they have eight of the nine No. 1 seeds in the tournament.
Seaholm's strength is in doubles, where it is seeded No. 1 at 1-2-4-5 doubles, and No. 2 at third doubles. Jason Mondry and Ben McDermott are the top seed at No. 1 doubles, with Zach Tayler and Griffen Neel at No. 2, Alex Cross and Will Geller at No. 4 and Michael Trease and Andrew Latessa at No. 5.
Athens counters with strength in singles. Junior Richard Zhang has proven to be the best player in the league, earning the top seed at No. 1 singles. Teammates Eric Flewelling and Jason Potter are top seeds at Nos. 2-3 singles. The Red Hawks' No. 3 doubles team of Tim Burton and Naren Nathan is the team to beat at No. 3 doubles.
Clarkston's Alexis Haselwanter earned the No. 1 seed at fourth singles for the Wolves, who finished third in the regular-season standings. Rochester was fourth, followed by Berkley, Lake Orion and Avondale.
For some reason the MHSTeCA has not updated their latest state rankings. But when they do, we may see a change at the top - in Division 1. Ann Arbor Huron, the defending state champions, have been given the respect it deserves all season long. The Hurons started out as the top-ranked team and until someone beat them, they probably deserved that respect. But all along I've felt Brother Rice and Novi were better.
And Novi proved that with a direct win over Huron last week. The Wildcats beat Huron, 6-2, on Friday. Currently ranked No. 2 behind the defending champs, I would guess Novi will be bumped up when this week's rankings are revealed.
And Brother Rice wasn't taking a week off either, as the Warriors beat three-time defending Division 2 champion Midland Dow, also by a 6-2 score. Dow did not have its No. 1 and No. 4 singles players, but still, the doubles looked really good in the win. That strengthens my case that it's going to be a two-team race at the Division 1 finals later this month.
Big Tournament this weekend in Midland, as Dow welcomes in Country Day, Ann Arbor Huron and Port Huron Northern for a big quad. The host Chargers are ranked No. 1 in Division 2, while Country Day is No. 1 in Division 3. Huron was ranked No. 1 in Division 1 last week, but lost to Novi and may get bumped when they announce the new rankings - any minute now.
For the record, Country Day is ranked No. 1 in the overall Top 10.