TC St. Francis, Big Rapids Advance to State Finals in Boys Tennis
TRAVERSE CITY – Traverse City St. Francis and Big Rapids are headed to the state finals in boys tennis after dominating at the Division 4 Regionals Wednesday.
St. Francis won the regional championship with 23 points. Big Rapids also qualified for the state finals by coming in second place with 15 points.
Big Rapids was represented in the finals of six of the eight flights while St. Francis was represented in all eight.
In flight two of singles action, the finals featured No. 1 seed Tristan Bonanni of St. Francis and No. 2 seed Nathan Sanders of Big Rapids. Bonanni had beaten Sanders earlier this season, but Sanders topped him 7-6 (7-4 in the tiebreaker), 6-3 on Wednesday.
“I’ve improved a lot and [Bonanni] beat me way worse last time so it’s good to get a win against him,” Sanders said after the match.
Sanders, a junior, said he expects he’ll have to face Bonanni for a third time this season at the state meet.
Big Rapids coach Austin Brinker said he’s proud of what his team was able to accomplish Wednesday and looks forward to the opportunity they have ahead of them.
“I’m just excited to see the boys progress. We made it last year, last year was kind of [a chance] to get our feet wet,” said Brinker. “But just [excited] to see how the boys stack up against some of the best competition in the state. St. Francis gives us a great look, they’re the favorite and we’ll just see how we compete with everyone else.”
In flight two of doubles, another Big Rapids versus St. Francis finals matchup ended in a Gladiator victory as Anthony Spranger and Jack Britten beat Austin Hinkley and Tyler Bigford 6-1, 6-4.
This is Spranger and Britten’s third season playing doubles together.
“Three years is a pretty long time to be playing together. I feel like we just have an edge,” said Spranger. “We know each other’s play style and it kind of helps us make better decisions on the court.”
“Yeah, I just work from the baseline and create opportunities for him to crash at the net,” added Britten.