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Jason Schmitt is the editor of, the high school sports website for The Oakland Press. He has served as the sports editor for a number of newspapers, including the Daily Tribune in Royal Oak and the Macomb Daily in Mount Clemens. In his time in the industry, he has covered every high school sport and has served a a beat writer for boys and girls soccer, boys and girls tennis, hockey, wrestling, bowling and cross country.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Congrats to Tim Wang, and all national qualifiers

I have to admit, I'm a high school tennis writer. In the grand scheme of things, high school tennis is just a footnote to elite tennis players. I know this. Yet it is what I do. I cover high school tennis.
But I decided to follow this week's Midwest Closed tournament - from afar. I tracked results several times a day on the USTA's website. I spoke to and exchanged text messages with coaches and parents to get the latest updates.
And as I saw some of Oakland County's best players bow out of the main draw, I began to wonder if anyone would make it through to Day 5, or perhaps Day 6. In the end, just one player in Indianapolis reached Thursday's championship match. Tim Wang, of Novi, not only made it, but won the Boys 16 singles title in straight sets, beating Austin Hussey of Kentucky.
I exchanged emails with Tim. He was obviously excited. Here' some of what he had to say, some of which I used for my story on his title run:

  • "I knew that I was good enough to win it all if I was on point both mentally and physically, but it never dawned on me that it would actually happen."
  • "I prepared really well, and over in Indiana I had the support of coach Josh Molino (he always finds a way to get me motivated) as well as my friends from (Southeast Michigan Tennis Association) - Jack Murray, Michael Dube', Max Fliegner, Brett Forman and Blake Burstein. They're always rooting for me and keeping me in check."
  • "This tournament definitely gives me a boost in confidence. It really opened up my mind to see what I could accomplish when I play my best tennis, and I look to carry that over to the rest of my USTA tournaments. High school-wise, it also gives me confidence that I could do well at states next season to help Novi come out with the championship. We were second last year and being a runner-up as the No. 1 team in the state still hurts."
  • "Kalamazoo is going to be my first super nationals, and I'm really excited about it. I don't really have many expectations, but if I just keep working hard and playing my game, I'm sure something good could happen and that I'll have a great time over there."
Wang wasn't the only player to play well this past week. Alexandria Najarian reached the Girls 18 singles semifinals and also punched her ticket to Kalamazoo for the Super Nationals. She won five straight matches in the tournament.
Marybeth Hurley beat Halle Hyman in the consolation semifinals to collect an automatic berth in Girls 16 singles play. Both players battled their way back through the consolation draw to put themselves in a position to earn a bid to Kalamazoo.
Jack Murray, the 2-seed in the Boys 18 draw, reached the backdraw finals to earn his automatic bid to Kalamazoo. Last year Murray won his first match at nationals, then dropped his next two.
Dipping down to the 14 and 12 Closed tournament in Okemos, Julian Hyman reached the Boys 12 singles championship match. He defeated Joe Stafford in the semfinals of the main draw.
Tia Mukherjee won the Girls 12 championship, capping off her seven-match run to the title.
Josh Mukherjee - yes the name is the same - won the Boys 14 championship. The No. 1 seed won his last three matches all in straight sets.
And Raven Neely (West Bloomfield) won five straight matches to reach the finals of the back draw and earn a berth at nationals.

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