By Jack Lorenz, Sports Reporter
Many of the students on the Varsity Ranger tennis team have no clue what it’s like not to win a state championship. They won it two years ago and tied with portage central last year to bring home two straight Division II state titles. They have their work cut out for them this year because of a tough Midland Dow team that has already beaten FHC twice this season. The Rangers are going to need some of their key players to step up at the state tournament this year if they are to complete the first back-to-back-to-back state championship in FHC history.
Connor Genschaw – 1 singles
Connor has experience playing against the best players in the state, having been playing 1 singles since his freshman year. He has had some tough matchups this year because of the Rangers difficult schedule. He can use this experience and make a deep run into the tournament with a finals or semifinal appearance. If Connor is able to play at his normal standards, it would give the Rangers a good shot at winning a 3rd straight state title.
Jacob Wiltjer – 2 singles
Jacob has won back-to-back state championships at the 4 doubles position, but this year he has moved up two flights to the 2nd singles spot. This has been a challenge to him, and it has not come as easy as it has in previous years. If he can make a run to the semifinals, the Rangers should have a good chance in the tournament.
Jake Herbruck – 3 singles
Jake is one of the three seniors on this season’s team and is looking for his 1st individual state title and 3rd as a team. He has just come off of a regional championship and looks to carry that momentum into the state tournament.
Nick Sjolin- 4 singles
Nick is the least experienced player on this talented FHC team and is the only underclassman of the bunch. He has had struggles this year but also has had a lot of success for only being a freshman. Nick should be able to make a run into the state tournament if he plays up to his potential.
Reed Aleck and Justin James – 1 doubles
Fresh off of a regional championship, seniors Justin and Reed look to use their experience to their advantage this year. They are one of the favorites to win the state title for one doubles this season as their competition so far this season has been minimal.
Aidan Rynbrandt and Jack Zeigler – 2 doubles
Aidan and Jack are both juniors and were both state champions last year. Jack won at 3 doubles and has adjusted to the change nicely, while Aidan has stayed at 2 doubles and has had some of the same success he had last year. This team is expected to win the state title again but will have to defeat the notorious Midland Dow.
Peyton Herbert and Mike Battiste – 3 doubles
Peyton and Mike are the only two that have kept the same doubles team as last year, however, they have moved up one flight to the 3rd doubles position. Last year, they dominated the 4 doubles position, only losing one match the entire year. This year they have only 5 losses and are expected to make a run deep into the tournament this year.
Brandon Phan and Dakota Weinman – 4 doubles
Brandon and Dakota are both first year varsity players and just barely missed out on an individual regional championship last week. These two are projected to make a run into the quarterfinals this year to help the Rangers to their 3rd straight state title.