Good times, bad times for MHS tennis players

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Cody Markel will partner with Dan Jin at the WIAA Division 1 individual state doubles tournament that begins Thursday./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Middleton will be represented in three flights when the WIAA Division 1 individual state tournament begins Thursday.

But it’s the two Cardinals that won’t be competing at Nielsen Tennis Stadium that drew the most attention.

Middleton’s Xavier Sanga won his flight at No. 3 singles and Brian Bellissimo was the champion at No. 4 singles during the Oconomowoc Sectional last Wednesday. Champions from the top two flights receive automatic berths to state, but champions from lower flights — like Sanga and Bellissimo — can request special qualifying status.

Middleton head coach Andre Glass needed to send “special qualifier” requests for Sanga and Bellissimo to the WIAA by last Friday at 9 a.m. Glass sent his email at 6:49 a.m., but sent it to the wrong address.

Therefore, the WIAA never received the proper paperwork on Sanga and Bellissimo.

“Apparently I sent it to the wrong email address,” Glass said.

A source close to the seeding process said Sanga was almost certain to receive a top-16 seed at state. Sanga had wins over two other players that received top-16 seeds during the regular season.

“I talked to Xavier’s Dad on Sunday, and he wasn’t very happy,” Middleton athletic director Bob Joers said. “Rightfully so.”

That same source described Bellissimo’s odds of earning a trip to state as “50-50.” But the email snafu meant Sanga and Bellissimo won’t be playing at individual state.

“While it is very unfortunate and disappointing to not be considered for the biggest tournament of the season after all the time and effort we put in, there seems to be nothing more we can do about the situation and it is time to move on,” Bellissimo said. “Hopefully mistakes like this will not be made in the future.”

Joers said he believed Glass did everything right except send the email to the proper address.

But Glass missed an important subsectional seeding meeting with the rest of the coaches in his sectional on May 25. The WIAA does send confirmations, though, after emails regarding seeding requests are received.

“It’s unfortunate,” Joers said. “It’s a mistake that in normal circumstances doesn’t happen.”

Middleton singles players Jake Van Emburgh and Geri Uj did earn trips to state, while the doubles team of Cody Markel and Dan Jin also qualified.

Van Emburgh, a sophomore, rolled to a 6-1, 6-2 win over Sun Prairie’s Iram Turrubiartes in the title match at sectionals. Van Emburgh is now seeded second at state.

Van Emburgh (9-0), who finished third at state last year, has a first round bye then plays a second round match Thursday at 4:30 p.m.

The three-day tournament concludes Saturday with the championship match expected to take place early that afternoon.

Uj, a foreign exchange student, cruised to the sectional championship at No. 2 singles, besting Arrowhead’s Brendan Pietila, 6-0, 6-0, in the championship match.

Uj (8-0), who is seeded seventh at state, received a first round bye, then will also play his first match Thursday at 4:30 p.m.

Jin and Markel (8-1), a pair of juniors, also qualified for state. They will open against Stevens Point seniors Trenton Seegert and Noah Maier (25-3) Thursday at 2 p.m.

Jin and Markel won the sectional title at No. 2 doubles, defeating Arrowhead’s Joey Dittman and Jace Hipp, 6-0, 6-3, in the title match.

Middleton had three other champions at sectionals.

Sanga posted a 6-1, 6-0 win over Oconomowoc’s Jason Brandl in the title match at No. 3 singles. And at No. 4 singles, Bellissimo cruised to a 6-1, 6-2 win over Sun Prairie’s Drew Tews in the championship match.

At No. 3 doubles, seniors Harish Veeramani and Tyler Ballweg defeated Arrowhead’s Hayden Frentzel and Ethan Wen, 6-3, 6-2, in the title match.

Middleton’s top doubles team of Mason Pyle and Rafael Sanga lost their first match and did not qualify for state.

Middleton won the sectional title and qualified for the WIAA Division 1 state team tournament, which will be held June 12-13. The Cardinals finished with 50 points to easily outdistance runner-up Hartland Arrowhead.

Middleton faces Madison West in the state team tournament on June 12 at 5:30 p.m. The state semifinals are June 13 at 9 a.m., and the championship match is June 13 at 2 p.m.

“I think there is a lot of opportunity in our team state draw this year,” Bellissimo said. “Fortunately, we are on the opposite side of the bracket from the top two teams in the state (Brookfield East and Marquette) and hope to meet one of them in the finals.

“I think if we play well, we can hang with any team here. Our (No.) 2 and 3 doubles teams are key in order for us to win big matches.”


May 27

Oconomowoc Sectional

Team scores: Middleton 50, Hartland Arrowhead 36, Waunakee 21, Oconomowoc 18, Sun Prairie 18, West Bend East 16, Slinger 15, Sauk Prairie 14, Sussex Hamilton 10, Hartford 9, Madison East 4, Watertown 4, Beaver Dam 0, West Bend West 0.



No. 1: Final — Van Emburgh, M, d. Turrubiartes, SuP, 6-1, 6-2. Third place — Badura, Oc, d. Moore, SH, 2-2, ret. Semifinals — Van Emburgh d. Moore, 6-1, 6-0; I. Turrubiartes d. Badura, 6-1, 6-1. Quarterfinals — Van Emburgh d. McGuire, Sl, 6-0, 6-0; Moore d. Paradisin, W, 6-4, 4-6, 10-2; Turrubiartes d. Williams, HA, 6-1, 6-0; Badura def. Thiel, ME, 6-1, 6-1.

No. 2: Final — Uj, M, d. Pietila, HA, 6-0, 6-0. Third place — Rehard, Oc, d. Zellner, W, 6-2, 6-2. Semifinals — Uj d. Rehard 6-0, 6-1; Pietila d. Zellner, 6-2, 6-0.

No 3: Final — X. Sanga, M, d. Brandl, Oc, 6-1, 6-0.Third place — Enyeart, HA, d. Frosch, SaP, 6-1, 6-3. Semifinals — X. Sanga d. Enyeart, 6-0, 6-1; Brandl d. Frosch, 7-5, 6-4.

No. 4: Final — Bellissimo, M, d. Tews, SuP, 6-1, 6-2. Third place — Streicher, HA, d. Palecek, WBE, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5. Semifinals — Tews d. Streicher, 6-4, 7-6 (5); Bellissimo d. Palecek, 6-1, 6-0.



No. 1: Final — Zanotti-Pralle, HA, d. Johnson-Zimbal, WBE, 6-2, 7-6 (5). Third place — R. Korinek-G. Korinek, Sl, d. Ballweg-Pfaff, SaP, 6-1, 7-6 (2). Semifinals — Zanotti-Pralle d. Ballweg-Pfaff, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2; Johnson-Zimbal d. R. Korinek-G. Korinek, 6-0, 6-0.

Quarterfinals — Zanotti-Pralle d. Pyle-Sanga, M, 6-1, 6-3; Ballweg-Pfaff d. Brault-Childs, Hfd, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5; Johnson-Zimbal d. Blair-Olson, SuP, 6-1, 6-2. R. Korinek-G. Korinek d. McCarthy/Austria-Kemble, W, 7-5, 7-6 (8).

No. 2: Final — Jin-Markel, M, d. Dittman-Hipp, 6-0, 6-3. Third place — Diaz-Mathison, W, d. Lanser-Steiner, WBE, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3. Semifinals — Dittman-Hipp d. Diaz-Mathison, 6-0, 6-3. Jin-Markel d. Lanser-Steiner, 6-2, 6-2.

No. 3: Final — Veeramani-Ballweg, M, d. Frentzel-Wen, HA, 6-3, 6-2. Third place — Kreuser-Nytes, Hfd, d. Meske-Haskins, W, 6-1, 6-1. Semifinals — Frentzel-Wen d. Meske-Haskins, 7-6 (2), 6-3. Veeramani-Ballweg d. Kreuser-Nytes, 6-4, 6-3.

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