By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News
FT. MADISON ?The Mt. Pleasant boys? tennis team went to Ft. Madison with the mission of bringing home a Southeast Conference championship, and when it was all said and done, it was mission accomplished.
The Panthers scored 19 points to bring home the SEC crown. Ft. Madison was second place with 15 points. Fairfield scored 13 points for third place and Keokuk ended the day with seven points for fourth.
The SEC team champs were led by individual conference champion Ethan Weber, who delievered the fourth SEC singles title in a row to Mt. Pleasant.
Weber had to sweat in both of his wins. He grinded out a win over Ft. Madison?s Sam Avery in the semifinals, outlasting him 6-4, 4-6, 1-0(3). That earned him the right to take on Keokuk?s Gavin Haner for the SEC title. Weber scored a comeback win, 1-6, 7-6(3), 1-0(8).
Corbin Broeker finished second in the No. 2 tournament. Broeker beat Keokuk?s Abbott Haner 6-3, 2-6, 1-0(4), before losing to Ft. Madison?s Austin Krueger 6-2 and 6-3 in the final.
In the No. 3 singles tournament Jaxon Hoyle lost a tough semifinal to Fairfield?s Dante Cingeri, falling 5-7, 7-5, 1-0(8). He bounced back in the third place match, however, taking it 8-4 over Keokuk?s Callum Tackes.
Elijah Plooster dominated the No. 4 singles tournament. Plooster knocked off Ft. Madison?s Blake Feuerhammer 7-5 and 6-2 in the semifinals before taking out Keokuk?s Kaiden Stoneking 6-0 and 6-2 in the finals.
Jack Schimmelpfennig placed second in the No. 5 singles tournament. He began the day with a semifinal win over Will Sheppard, taking games 7-5 and 6-2. He fell to Vasin Thurman of Ft. Madison in the next round, falling 6-2 and 6-0.
Donny Arledge won the No. 6 singles bracket, making it three Panther singles titles on the day. Arledge knocked off Keokuk?s Tucker Hannan 6-3 and 6-2 in the semifinals before nipping Fairfield?s Noel Peterson 4-6, 7-5, 1-0(8) in the finals.
Broeker and Hoyle fell twice in the No. 1 doubles tournament. The Panthers dropped their semifinal game 7-5 and 6-2 to Ft. Madison. Fairfield topped the Panthers 8-3 in the third place game.
Weber and Schimmelpfennig picked up a victory in the No. 2 tournament. The Panthers swept Keokuk?s No. 2 team 6-1 and 6-3 in the semifinals, and then took out the Faifield squad 6-3 and 6-3.
Plooster and Arledge finished second in the No. 3 doubles tournament. The Panthers took down the Keokuk squad 6-1 and 6-1 in the semifinals before falling to Fairfield 2-6, 6-4, 1-0(8).
?Winning conference was something we?ve been talking about all year and I was very proud of the effort and focus the guys had today,? Head coach Tyler Rodgers said about the accomplishment. ?Sometimes I forget how young this team is, and it?s been fun watching them improve throughout the year. There were just a lot of things that happened to be proud of.?
The Panther boys will be in Fairfield on Wednesday, May 9. They?ll compete in the district tournament, which will take place at 8:30 a.m. at Maharishi School in Fairfield.