I always want to acknowledge the next generation coming up at Bethany. They are as much a part of our family as each of us. Especially if we are underclassmen, these middle school students will have a great deal to do with our future success.
So what does that future look like?
We played 3 middle school matches this spring. The first was against Westview. For many of our players, this match was the first time they had played outdoors this spring, because we had been holding most of our practices in the gym. And we'd only had about 10 practices, not very many where we were able to practice serves. So there were a lot of nervous players.
But we were able to pull out the victory, 9-2. Our only losses came at #1 singles, where our 7th grade phenom Thomas Schlabach ran up against a wall, a player who got everything back, and #3 singles, where Landon Weldy couldn't quite find his serve. In the rest of the matches, we played really well, including Jesse Amstutz running off 10 straight games to win in 2 sets. Our biggest winners on the day were Sol Brenneman and Cristian Romero, with a 6-0, 6-1 win. Perhaps the most dramatic win was Tristan Clark and Ryan Duckworth, who had to finish off their match in a tiebreak, which they won 7-5.
In our second match we took on Northridge, and instead of 2 out of 3 sets, we played on one set. These matches were much closer, but at the top positions, we still held a 6-2 advantage. The doubles matches were extremely close. Sol Brenneman and Jesse Amstutz took a 7-5 victory, while at #2 doubles Cristian Romero and Young Kwan Sun lost in a tiebreak. Even the #3 doubles match of Landon Weldy and Hans Miller was close, a 5-7 loss for the Bruins. In the singles, Thomas got back on winning ways with a 6-2 victory. Neel Bhagat and Luke Schrock also played a quite impressive match, winning 6-2. This was our closest match and we played very well in it.
At our third match, against Goshen, things were not so close. Though we played pro sets, the best the Redskins would manage was 2-8. Jesse Amstutz played outstanding in this match, matching Goshen's most outstanding player stroke for stroke and more. In the weirdest match, Brandon and Aman were up 2-1 when their opponents left. Simply walked off the court, never to return! Byoung-Min had a long match, but was continually consistent.
Finally, we arrived at Saturday, a rainy day for our tournament at Angola. We drove over through intermittent rain, wondering if we'd just turn around and go home. But instead, we goofed around on the courts while it sprinkled. Then we helped get the water off and 2 hours late we were ready to play.
The day opened with an amazing match. Jesse Amstutz drew Fremont's #1 player, and the match went back and forth, with neither player ever able to take a huge lead. Each player had strong, consistent forehands and struggled with backhands. It was like mirror images playing each other. Unfortunately, Jesse fell in the first round.
Other matches went fast, Byoung-Min and Isaac flying through easier matches against weaker opponents. Sol Brenneman ran up against a difficult opponent, a smaller player who hit all of Sol's shots back. Sol fell down 7-4 in the match, but suddenly adjusted his game to become less aggressive and more consistent. He won game after game and until the match went to a tiebreak. And then the rains came.
We figured we were done... but no, we were headed inside. Trine University provided 4 courts for us. 4 courts, for 8 teams. Yea, we were in for a long day.
Sol came back into his match indoors, and lost the tiebreak 6 points later. Then he'd have to sit as the rest of the tournament unfolded. Each team that lost in the first round was out, no consolation round. But luckily for us, we got 5 of our positions into the finals.
Isaac Brenneman, Byoung-Min Lim, Tanner Fervida, Landon Weldy, and Ryan Duckworth/Tristan Clark all made their respective finals. Landon was particularly impressive, considering he defeated the strongest two team (Coldwater Legg and Angola) to make it into his final. In the finals, we gave it all we had. Isaac, Byoung-Min and Landon all played their best tennis in their final. Isaac took one of the best players in the tournament right til the end. But only Landon was able to win his final, over Northridge. It was an outstanding accomplishment.
Especially at the end of a 14-day. We made a quick stop at Taco Bell, but we still didn't get back until 9:15. What did we have to show for it. Well, third place in the tournament, by tiebreaker. We actually had tied for 2nd, but Coldwater Legg won 1 more final than we did.
All in all, it was an encouraging season. This is the next generation of stars coming up for us, and it looks very bright.
#1S - Thomas Schlabach - 4-6, 3-6
#2S - Jesse Amstutuz - 6-3, 6-0
#3S - Landon Weldy - 4-6, 3-6
#4S - Isaac Brenneman - 6-1, 6-1
#5S - Ethan Miller - 6-4, 6-1
#6S - Byoung-Min Lim - 6-0, 6-2
#7S - Tanner Fervida - 6-0, 6-1
#1D - Sol Brenneman/Cristian Romero - 6-0, 6-1
#2D - Hans Miller/Simon Hurst - 6-2, 6-3
#3D - Ryan Duckworth/Tristan Clark - 6-0, 7-6 (5)
#4D - Young Kwan Sun/Luke Schrock - 8-6
#1S - Thomas Schlabach - 6-2
#2S - Isaac Brenneman - 6-4
#3S - Byoung-Min Lim - 6-4
#4S - Tanner Fervida - 6-3
#1D - Sol Brenneman/Jesse Amstutz - 7-5
#2D - Cristian Romero/Young Kwan Sun - 6-7 (4)
#3D - Hans Miller/Landon Weldy - 5-7
#4D - Ryan Duckworth/Ethan Miller - 6-1
#5D - Simon Hurst/Tristan Clark - 6-0
#6D - Neel Bhagat/Luke Schrock - 6-2
#7D - Aadarsh Patel/Alex Reinhardt - 0-6
#8D - Aman Patel/Brandon Nguyen - 2-6
#9D - Sol Brenneman/Ryan Duckworth - 6-0
#10D - Landon Weldy/Simon Hurst - 6-1
#11D - Jesse Amstutz/Tristan Clark - 6-0
#12D - Hans Miller/Thomas Schlabach - 6-1
#13D - Ethan Miller/Cristian Romero - 6-0
#14D - Brandon Nguyen/Aadarsh Patel - 6-0
#15D - Bryce Miller/Ryan Duckworth - 6-5
#1S - Jesse Amstutz - 8-2
#2S - Isaac Brenneman - 8-0
#3S - Byoung-Min Lim - 8-2
#4S - Cristian Romero - 8-0
#5S - Tanner Fervida - 8-0
#1D - Sol Brenneman/Thomas Schlabach - 8-0
#2D - Landon Weldy/Ethan Miller - 8-1
#3D - Hans Miller/Tristan Clark - 8-0
#4D - Ryan Duckworth/Simon Hurst - 8-1
#5D - Neel Bhagat/Luke Schrock - 8-1
#6D - Bryce Miller/Aadarsh Patel - 8-0
#7D - Brandon Nguyen/Aman Patel - 2-1
#1S - Jesse Amstutz - 5-8
#2S - Isaac Brenneman - 8-2 : 6-4 : 5-8
#3S - Byoung-Min Lim - 8-1 : 6-1 : 4-8
#4S - Sol Brenneman - 8-9 (5)
#5S - Tanner Fervida - 8-0 : 6-0 : 2-8
#6S - Landon Weldy - 8-6 : 6-2 : 8-4 = CHAMPION!
#1D - Ethan Miller/Hans Miller - 5-8
#2D - Ryan Duckworth/Tristan Clark - 8-3 : 6-4 : 0-8
#3D - Luke Schrock/Simon Hurst - 0-6