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Wolves break streak to head to state finals this week



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Alexis Haselwanter returns a serve from West Bloomfield's Max Sandberg during the MHSAA Regional. Photo by Wendi Reardon (click for larger version)
October 16, 2013 - The Wolves checked off one more item on their goal list for Fall 2013 as they scored 19 points at the MHSAA Tennis Regionals - qualifying them for the state finals last Thursday.

"It was a great day for the team," said Clarkston Boys Varsity Tennis Coach Chas Claus. "We definitely enjoyed the challenge and the opportunity. It was a great day. They were very fired up all week. We accomplished and checked off our last goal of the board. It was a very satisfying day."

Claus doesn't remember much from the last time the Wolves qualified for the state finals because he was 3-years-old and the year was 1982.

He added the boys are fired up to be the team to break the streak.

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"I have been a little surprised by the enthusiasm out of a lot of my former players and guys I played with in high school," he said. "I have heard from a lot of them and a lot of them are excited we are finally going and finally had a break through. It is definitely one of those things not only do these players feel an accomplishment but a lot of past players are excited, too."

Sophomore Alexis Haselwanter finished as champion in the Singles No. 4 court, going 3-0 for the day. He beat Waterford Mott's Alex Wilbanks, 6-0, 6-0; Bloomfield Hills' Connor Long, 6-2, 4-6, 6-1; and West Bloomfield's Max Sandberg 3-6, 7-5, 6-1.

Senior Matt Dahl and sophomore Ian Stuart finished as runner up in their respective courts.

Dahl, in Singles No. 2, went 2-1 for the day. He defeated Waterford Kettering's Garrett Zimmerman, 6-0, 6-0; and Bloomfield Hills' Gilbert Chen, 6-3, 6-1. He lost to Rochester Adams' Oliver Li, 6-1, 6-1.

Stuart also went 2-1 in Singles No. 3 court. He beat West Bloomfield's Jonathan Nivenberg, 6-1, 6-1; and Bloomfield Hills' Brad Silverman, 6-1, 6-2. He lost Charles Xu from Rochester Adams, 6-2, 6-2.

"We got an excellent draw," Claus explained. "That is the key. The draw is seeded so the best few players don't have to play each other in the first round. If you aren't one of the best players then it is random luck. If you aren't one of the best few you have a chance to play them at the beginning and it can make for a very difficult tournament."

He added the boys did a great job throughout the entire season to earn the good seeding and matchups for the regional tournament.

"The boys knew based on the draw they had a good shot of making it happen," Claus said. "They worked so long and so hard for it. Some of these kids have been around for 3-4 years. They have spent their summers out here voluntarily and getting ready for the season."

Freshman Alex Matisse finished on Singles No. 1 court going 1-1 for the day, beating Lake Orion's Palmer Hatch, 6-2, 6-2. He finished for the day after losing to Highlander Justin Hyman.

All of the doubles teams went 1-1 for the day winning their first matchups. Seniors Joey and Johnny Whall beat Stoney Creek in their first match up in Doubles No. 1, winning 6-2, 6-1. They lost to 6-1, 7-5.

Juniors Mitch Rogowski and Brendan Greenlee beat Waterford Mott, 6-0, 6-0 in Doubles No. 2. They lost to Bloomfield Hills 7-6 (8-6), 6-2.

Seniors Dan Agnew and Eric Matynowski beat Stoney Creek 6-1, 6-2 in Doubles No. 3 and lost to Bloomfield Hills, 6-1, 7-5.

Freshman Tristan Greenlee and senior Sean McNeil beat Waterford Mott by default and lost to Rochester Adams, 6-2, 6-2, on Doubles No. 4 court.

"Everybody did their job," said Claus. "I know the expression is overused that it was a team effort but in tennis is not always true. You don't have a team playing together at the same time. You have eight or nine flights of individuals. This was an absolute team effort. A few guys got high seeds and needed to come through and play those seeds."

Clarkston took third place at MHSAA Regional with 19 points. They join Rochester Adams, who took first with 26 points, and Bloomfield Hills, who took second with 22 points.

At press time, the Wolves did not know who they would be playing the first round of the state finals. The seeding was not done until Tuesday.

Claus added it was hard to say what would happen at the state meet.

"We won't be the favorite," he noted. "We are not looking to win the state title though we would like to.We know we earned it and we are not afraid of anybody. We will go out there and play whoever we get and hang with them."

The state finals are this Friday and Saturday at Midland Tennis Center.

"We have done all we could do to play high end teams all year," said Claus. "We will enjoy the trip both because we got there and because we belong there."

Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.
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