Janesville Parker hopes to make mark at state tennis tournament
The tournament opens at 2 p.m. at the Nielsen Tennis Stadium and continues Friday and Saturday at 8:30 a.m. Tickets are $6 per session.
Singles qualifier Matt Knutson and the doubles team of Craig Spangler and Codi Papcke will be the first Vikings to play at the state since 2003. It’s a drought Parker coach Mike Fuhrmann is happy to see end.
“This is big,” Fuhrmann said. “There is huge excitement with Parker tennis right now.’’
Knutson defeated Racine Horlick’s Alec Sawalski, 6-3, 6-0 in the Flight 1 quarterfinals at the Lake Geneva Badger Sectional to become Parker’s first singles qualifier since current Janesville Craig coach Justin Long advanced for the Vikings seven years ago.
Spangler and Papcke defeated Waterford’s David Serkowski and Jordan Chart, 6-0, 7-5, to become the first Parker doubles team to make the big show since Fuhrmann became coach in 2003.
Fuhrmann said the three Vikings have done well against strong competition,
“Matt has always been in the mix,” Fuhrmann said. “Spangler and Papcke have had success at weekend tournaments. They’ve always been in it for the championships.’’
The Parker players open with familiar Big Eight Conference opponents.
Knutson (17-10), a junior, faces Verona freshman Andrew Afgall (22-6) at 5 p.m. today. Spangler and Papcke (12-12), both seniors, play Middleton’s Michael Owen and Alex Horner (22-6) at 4.
Although they never played their opponents during the regular season, Furhmann said it is a plus for the Vikings to draw Big Eight opponents. Owen and Horner played No. 2 doubles, and Afgall played No. 2 singles during the regular season.
“We are able to focus practice on specifics for those opponents,” said Fuhrmann. “We really kind of know our opponents. We have a good focal point, and they are excellent singles and doubles players.”
Meanwhile, Lake Geneva Badger junior Dean Schwefel (21-2) faces Wausau East senior Bryan Miles (19-2) at 2 p.m. today. The Badger doubles team of Matt Heinz and Reid Solheim (18-6) plays Mequon Homestead’s David Stockbridge and Justin Kirtley (24-4) at 4.
Fort Atkinson senior Tim Harwick (20-1), the Badger Conference champion, faces Eau Claire Memorial sophomore Christian Phelps (17-7) at 2. Hartwick’s only loss was to Madison East’s Jake Rodgers in the sectional semifinals.
In Division 2 singles, Whitewater junior Ian Stone (10-11) goes against Milwaukee University School junior Rishi Karri (27-2) at 7:30 p.m. In doubles, Edgerton’s Christian Fox and Kyle Carrier (15-4) face Shorewood’s Jake Miller and Sawyer Carlson-Price (21-1) at 9 tonight.
Stone and the Edgerton doubles team advanced as extra qualifiers out the Whitewater sectional.