The goal this year for the all-senior Germantown first doubles team of Xander Rait and Justin Luo was to qualify for the WIAA state boys tennis tournament on their own accord and not have to wait on pins and needles and hope the state seeding committee picks them as an extra qualifier, which is what happened last year.
The pair overpowered a duo from Oshkosh North in the quarterfinals of the WIAA sectional tournament hosted by Oshkosh West on May 26 by a 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 score, which earned them an automatic slot in the WIAA state field.
They would go on to finish third in the first doubles bracket at sectional and will enter state with a 20-7 record.
'It's always good to see players accomplish their goals in their final season,' said coach Jeff Stodola. 'A goal for the season was to qualify for state, not special qualify, which they accomplished. They have to work hard in their matches as they are not a power serving team and rely on their strengths, which is returning and ball placement.'
The WIAA state tournament will get underway Thursday, June 2, at Nielsen Tennis Stadium. Play will continue through the championship matches Saturday, June 4. Last season, Rait and Luo succeeded in winning their first-round match before falling.
At sectional after the qualifying win, the pair fell to Fond du Lac, 6-1, 4-6, 6-2, in the semifinals but then bounced back to beat Cedarburg, 6-2, 6-2, for third.
Stodola thought the pair handled the pressure of the situation well.
'(They were) the first seed in the subsectional and had a bye and automatically qualified for sectionals,' he said. 'They crossed over to play the fourth seed (from North), which was a difficult match given nerves, playing a team we have not seen before, etc. They had a difficult first set but started to be more aggressive and consistent in the next two sets.
'The second match versus Fondy was against a team we had already defeated twice during the season so no surprises between the teams, but we came out flat and not aggressive, and Fondy served well, attacked the net well and played a really nice match. We got it to a third set but could not finish points well.
'The third place match versus Cedarburg was the third time we have played them winning the previous two in three-set matches. We came out energized with aggressive net play and served well and took control of the match early.'
The Warhawks had two other sectional entries as the all-sophomore third doubles team of Ryan Sobczak and John Weber finished their season well. They lost their semifinal to a Neenah team, 6-0, 6-0, but then beat Oshkosh North for third, 6-2, 6-2, to finish at 17-8 overall.
At first singles, senior Jeremy Bell finished his career with a 6-0, 6-0 loss to eventual sectional champion Ryan Risgaard of Neenah. Bell finished with an 8-14 record. Germantown scored 19 points to take fourth in the 15-team sectional field. Neenah won all seven flights to cruise to the title with 56 points.