From staff reports
LUDINGTON — Traverse City St. Francis captured five flights Thursday to win the Division IV tennis regional Ludington.
The Gladiators scored 28 points in punching their ticket to the state finals on Oct. 18 at Holly.
St. Francis had three singles winners and two doubles winners. The Gladiators were in the finals of seven of eight matches.
No. 2 Gus Danz captured his regional crown with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Harbor Springs’ Ben Brushaber, No. 3 Jack Krcmarik won in a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Ludington’s Bennett Langton, while No. 4 Patrick Burke posted a 6-0, 6-1 win over Harbor Springs’Keith Fitzpatrick.
In doubles play, the No. 1 team of Jay Jones and Blake Bandrowski won 6-2, 6-4 against Ludington’s Ryan Lin and Justin Markham, while the No. 2 team of Brady Ray and Nathan Tafelski beat Ludington’s Brennan O’Brien and Ethan Leavitt in the finals, 7-5, 6-2.
“I knew our guys had beaten every team in the regional in duals this year,” said St. Francis coach Paul Bandrowski, who was named regional coach of the year. “But it’s always different when you’re playing in regional matches. It’s single elimination so one bad match and you’re done. It couldn’t have gone any better. I never dreamed we’d have seven in the finals with such a young team. We only have two seniors. They exceeded my expectations.”
No. 1 singles player Sam Holmes got to the finals before losing to Harbor Springs’ Sam Dart 4-6, 7-5, 7-5. At No. 4 doubles Jackson Richmond and Ryan Navin lost to Ludington’s Alec Johnson and Aidan Brown in the finals, 6-4, 6-7, 7-6 — a marathon match that lasted close to 3 1/2 hours.
The No. 3 doubles team of Victor Casler and Tyler Spigarelli finished third in their flight, posting two wins on the day.
It was the Gladiators first regional victory over Ludington since the Orioles dropped down to Division IV.
Ludington finished second with 23 points, followed by Whitehall (14), Harbor Springs (12), Big Rapids (8), Grant (6), Boyne City (4), Glen Lake (1) and Elk Rapids (0).