ESCANABA — Per week has handed for the reason that Escanaba Eskymos have been topped Higher Peninsula Division tennis champions with reminiscences that can seemingly final a lifetime.
“It was emotional and thrilling, in all probability one of the crucial rewarding experiences I’ve had,” mentioned fifth-year coach Tom Penegor. “Not solely do you expertise the thrill surrounding the occasion — as a coach you see what they need to do totally different — however you’ll be able to’t exit and do it for them.
The Eskymos scored 19 factors for his or her first title in 14 years, adopted by host and three-time defending champ Negaunee 13 and Menominee 10.
“The blokes had been very motivated and hungry,” mentioned Penegor. “They went out and took the title. It wasn’t given to them. We needed the children to win every match. We didn’t need them to consider it. We simply needed them to exit and do it.
“Hats off to Menominee, which received a three-setter, and Negaunee, which received a three-setter at No. 4 singles. They (Negaunee) put the work and time in. We used them as our mannequin in that we needed to do the identical factor. The crew in 2018 was in all probability simply as proficient, however they weren’t as hungry as this yr’s crew. It’s important to work laborious on daily basis to search out out what works for them.”
Previous to the championship spherical, the trail to the title turned slightly longer because the groups skilled a three-hour rain delay.
“As coaches, we sit down and think about the state of affairs,” mentioned Penegor. “How do you react to that? We’re very pleased with them. They actually did effectively. What I believe helped us goes via a powerful problem within the Nice Northern Convention meet (Might 27 at Marquette). I believe we gained some psychological toughness.”
The Eskymos received that meet for the primary time since 2003, additionally marking the primary time since 1999 they had been GNC and U.P. champs in the identical yr.
“We now have fairly just a few guys coming again,” mentioned Penegor. “We’ll positively be senior-oriented subsequent yr. I admire my spouse being affected person and letting me exit and coach these children and share my time with them and our assistant coaches (Chris Ogren and Alan Adams) for all their help. I’m very blessed to have them and nice children and fogeys. I additionally need to thank God for offering me with this chance.”
Amongst these anticipated to return are reigning No. 3 singles champion Nathan Howes and No. 2 doubles champs Isaac Maki and Dawson Williams.
Viktor Pospisil and Ryan Moreau (No. 1 doubles) and Tanner McDonald-Jordan Nance (No. 3 doubles) have departed as U.P. champions.
This system has a wealthy historical past regardless of the prior absence of GNC and U.P. titles.
“We had a number of (NCAA) Division 1 gamers come via the ranks at Escanaba,” mentioned Penegor. “We had some good groups and gamers within the ’70s and ’80s.”
Amongst them are Dennis Lueneburg, Tom Mitchell and Paul Pertile, all of whom performed at Western Michigan College.
Penegor says he’s impressed with a number of the services within the U.P.
“Marquette, Negaunee, Westwood and Kingsford all have cutting-edge courts,” he added. “It might actually be good to have a few of these right here.”