October 23, 2013 - It was a successful visit to the MHSAA Tennis State Finals as the Wolves tied for ninth place out of 22 teams at Midland Tennis Center.
"We had a great weekend," said Clarkston Boys Varsity Tennis Coach Chas Claus. "It was a great experience and to finish in the top ten in the state is fantastic. I am so proud of what we have accomplished."
The boys finished with nine points, tying with Grosse Pointe South and Port Huron Northern.
Alexis Haselwanter made it to the second day for the Final Four on No. 4 Singles court. He beat Ben Walters from Grand Blanc, 6-3, 6-2; and Mark VanderStoep from Holland West Ottawa, 6-1, 6-1, to make it to the quarterfinals.
He lost to Jack Winkler from Brother Rice, 6-2, 6-2, for Haselwanter's only loss for the season.
"He played very well in that match," said Claus. "I was very proud of him. He finished 30-1 and with last year his first two years on varsity makes it 57-4, which is rewriting the record books."
For singles, Alex Matisse went 1-1, with a win over Livonia Stevenson and a loss to Northville on No. 1 court. Matt Dahl also went 1-1 on the No. 2 court with a win over Grosse Pointe South, 6-0, 6-1; and a loss to Ann Arbor Huron, 6-4, 6-2. Ian Stuart lost to Gross Pointe South, 6-3, 6-2, in the second round after a bye in the first round on court No. 3
For doubles, the first three courts posted a 1-1 record for the finals and No. 4 court Tristan Greenlee and Sean McNeil finished 0-1 with a loss to Rockford, 6-0, 6-4.
Joey and Johnny Whall on the Doubles No. 1 court beat Port Huron Northern their first round, 6-0, 6-2. Then lost to Brother Rice, 6-1, 6-1.
Brendan Greenlee and Mitch Rogowski beat Grandville in a close match, 6-0, 5-7, 6-4 on the No. 2 court. They lost to Novi, 6-2, 6-2.
Dan Agnew and Eric Matynowski beat Livonia Stevenson, 6-2, 6-1 on court No. 3. They lost to Troy, 6-1, 6-2.
"At least one win at six flights is pretty impressive," Claus added. "A majority of schools don't get a win in six flights. So I was pretty pleased with the overall team being ready to play and playing well."
It wasn't just him who was pleased, but former players and coaches who were rooting for the boys as they were at finals.
"There was a lot of excitement," Claus said, adding he received texts, emails and phone call from former players, coaches and players from his era. "It was not just a victory for this group. A lot of former players were proud."
The tennis program bids farewell to seniors: Dan Agnew, Matt Dahl, Sean McNeil, Eric Matynowski, Matt Pasco, Randy Toll, Joey and Johnny Whall.
"This year's senior class is an amazing group," Claus said. "There were some injuries, some tough matches, some disappointments but this year's senior class did an amazing job of not only working hard year round but working hard over the summer. Matt and the Whall brothers were the ones calling people and saying come out and play for a few hours. I was very happy with them. All of that extra work paid off."
The boys finished with a 12-2-1 record in dual meets and tied for the OAA White league title going 5-0 in meets and second at the league tournament.
For the eight returners and boys new to next year state finals is the step they are aiming for next season.
"I hope it is the building block that made the returners hungry," said Claus. "They have gotten a taste. They have seen the best of the best."
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.