The RHS tennis team celebrates a second-place finish in the MHSAA D! Regional. ~ Contributed Photo
HUDSONVILLE – The Rockford High School varsity tennis team competed in the MHSAA D1 Regional 1, Thursday, Oct. 11, and came home with a second-place finish. Along the way, a Rams doubles team was crowned Regional Champion. The Rams had a big day on the court, playing deep into the day to earn their standing – and qualify the team for the State Finals – by just one point, nosing out West Ottawa to move on as a team.
“It took every ounce of daylight for us to earn the 18th point and qualify for the state tournament,” shared head coach Tom Huizing. “It was a season worth of hard work and dedication coming to a culmination at Hudsonville for the Regional Championship.”
Hudsonville claimed the regional crown with 24 points. Rockford placed second with 18 points, and the Panthers finished third with 17 points, and East Kentwood landed fourth with 14.
Following the top four were: 5. Grand Haven (9 points) 6. Grandville (8 points) 7. Caledonia (7 points) 8. Kalamazoo Loy Norrix (4 points) and 9. Kalamazoo Central (2 points).
The Rams saw plenty of great finishes on the day. The Rockford No. 1 Doubles team of Matthew Hall/Ryan Blackburn were crowned regional champions in their flight. The duo, which was undefeated in conference play, is now an impressive 30-2 on the season. Also, No. 3 Singles player and No. 4 Singles player Ben Lewis claimed runner-up status in their flights. The Rams duo of Caleb Keely/Xander Werdon also claimed second place in the No. 3 Doubles flight.
“Many teams never get a chance to qualify for the State Finals, it’s a badge of honor that you get to carry with you for the rest of your life. There is a lot of pressure in taking first, or second place, or totaling 18 points to qualify at Regionals. You live and die with every point earned or every point lost. It was an amazing and intense day with incredibly tough teams.”
The Rams will compete in the MHSAA D1 State Finals, October 19-20 at the Greater Midland Tennis Center.
REGIONAL CHAMPS! The Rockford No. 1 Doubles team of Ryan Blackburn and Matthew Hall were crowned regional champions in their flight. The duo, which was undefeated in conference play, is now an impressive 28-2 on the season. ~ Contributed Photo
No. 1 Doubles player Matthew Hall reads the opponents' moves during play at the net. ~ Contributed Photo