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Monday July 22, 2024
ALL TIED UP: Miners, Eskymos Share Tennis Title

MARQUETTE----The Escanaba Eskymos and Negaunee Miners finished as co-Upper Peninsula champions after Wednesday's MHSAA Division One Tournament in Marquette.

Both teams finished undefeated seasons after they tied for first with 16 points each. Westwood had a great day, too, with 14 points, and finished third overall in the standings.

Escanaba won championships at #1 singles, #1 doubles, and #4 doubles. Negaunee won championships at #3 singles, #4 singles, and #3 doubles.

And Westwood took championships at #2 singles and #2 doubles, effectively making sure neither the Eskymos nor the Miners would have enough points to win the team championship.

It was probably the way the season should have ended. The Eskymos and Miners both rolled through the season, and tied each other in their head-to-head match-up. And the Patriots were right there all season, but were just unable to overcome the Eskymos or the Miners.

At #1 singles, it was Escanaba's Sophia Derkos who completed a second straight dominating season. She went undefeated in 2022 en route to the Division One Player of the Year honors, and with a target on her back in every match this fall, she repeated that rare feet by going through another full season with no set losses, and no match losses.

On Wednesday, Derkos shredded some pretty good tennis players with arguably her best performance in the Orange and Black uniform. She beat Gladstone's top player, Tia Schone, in the semifinals, 6-0, 6-1, and then tore through the talented Aubrey Johnson of Negaunee, 6-1, 6-0, in the championship match.

"Her ability to hit through her opponents has been too good this year," Escanaba Coach Chris Ogren said. "She played against some of the best athletes in the UP all year and her ability to hit these girls off the court is the best I’ve seen from one of my players. I couldn’t be happier with how Sophia worked and played this year. We’re certainly going to miss having her on the team next year."

It wasn't just Derkos.

Ogren says everyone contributed to his team's success all season long. And that includes the #4 doubles team of Carly Bowden and Danni Hughes, who also finished a perfect season by winning their semifinal and final matches in straight sets.

"They’ve been a fun team to watch all year long, and it’ll be fun to see how much they grow for next season," Ogren said. "It’s been a great ride. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of
girls to coach. It’s been a great year, and it feels terrific to end with a championship trophy to
cap it off."

Negaunee's championships came at #3 singles with Rheana Nelson and at #4 singles with Madalynn Peters. The #3 doubles team of Autumn Ring and Alyssa Borlace also came through with a first place finish, and in a match this close, every point mattered.

Negaunee Coach Kyle Saari was happy with his team's effort. He wrote this on the team's Facebook page Wednesday night:

"This particular team overcame a lot of uncertainty and adversity over the course of the day. They showed leadership, courage, and support for one another when needed most," Saari said. "Maddie Frustaglio and Maija Rourke entered today never having played together, and Maddie showed leadership coupled with Maija’s toughness, to tackle a tough task at #1 doubles."

"Kallen and Paityn put a season’s worth of work in, and are as big a part of this win as any. Alyssa stepped in at 3 doubles with Autumn, and both earned a crucial championship. This, combined with our efforts in semifinal and championship matches make this a total team victory. That’s what we always hope our program and titles are built upon."

FINAL TEAM SCORES
Escanaba - 16
Negaunee - 16
Westwood - 14
Marquette - 4
Gladstone - 2
Kingsford - 2
Menominee - 1


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BACK-TO-BACK: Derkos Named U.P.'s Top Player
Thursday October 19, 2023
STATEMENT WIN: Esky Tennis Wins At Westwood
Friday September 22, 2023
ALL TIED UP: Escanaba, Negaunee Settle Nothing
Wednesday September 13, 2023
SHARED RESPECT: Derkos, Schone Meet In Tennis
Tuesday August 22, 2023