PARK TWP. – Brian Metz, the West Ottawa Boys’ tennis coach, took over the Panther tennis program four years ago and promised his team that their efforts and hard work would one day pay off.
His team made that intuition a reality on Saturday when they held both Rockford and Hudsonville to win the OK Red Conference title on their home seats.
“We were close, but it is my first conference championship as head coach,” said Metz. “It took four years to develop, it really did. I’ve known these guys for a long time and they put an incredible amount of work in the off-season to make us look good for those few months and it just all came together” for today US.”
West Ottawa had drawn the Conference tournament with Rockford and Hudsonville as each school won 1-1 (all three games ended in a 5-4 result) under the others in their doubles matches during the regular season. However, the Panthers achieved some stellar performances when it came down to it and could do just enough to break free from the pack, winning the tournament by 60 points ahead of Rockford, 58, and Hudsonville, 57.
One of the landmark players for West Ottawa was Senior Teddy Schurman, who brought home medalists with his 6-4, 6-4 win over Manu Velicia Armina von Jensison in the first singles final.
“I played him earlier in the season and it took three sets (to win) so it felt really good to beat him,” said Schurman. “I also beat (Isaac Postema 4-6, 6-3, 6-0) from Grand Haven in the semi-finals and I hadn’t won against him in my life so it was a big win too.
“I feel like after today we have a lot of confidence in the Regionalliga and I think there are a few places where I want to take revenge on some (players) from other schools. It felt good because it was our last It was a home game and I guess the second I realized that I was like, ‘OK, I have to win.’ ”
Other flight winners for West Ottawa were Elliot Dozeman in the second singles in the second singles (defeating Grant Taylor of Grand Haven 6-2, 6-1 in the finals) and Brandon Blake / Liam Herweyer in the fourth doubles (defeating Rockfords Blake Murphy / Patrick Erickson 6-4). , 3-6, 6-2).
Junior Traiden Bethke finished second in the third singles, as did the second doubles with Nolan Zink and Joe Mireles.
Metz took pride in the way his team reacted to a pressured situation in order to win the title.
“(Slightly falling in the past few years) can be a hard pill to swallow, but we’ve talked about using this as motivation when we (other teams) celebrate with the trophy and don’t forget how it feels” , he said. “We used that to push ourselves when we don’t want to train, when we don’t want to be hit.
Teddy, Dalton (Goodwin) and Reid (Reimink) started university as freshmen and we knocked on the door. I am happy that as a senior they won this trophy for the first time and that they were ahead of the game the last time we played here on our home courts. “