Wait over for Flivver tennis


For The Daily News

MARQUETTE – It took 60 years, but Kingsford High School has captured the school’s second outright Upper Peninsula boys tennis championship.

The Flivvers of head coach Mark Shanks compiled 21 points Wednesday to far outdistance runners-up Marquette and Negaunee to claim the U.P. Division 1 title in play held in Marquette.

KHS last won an outright peninsula crown in 1953. The Flivvers shared titles with Marquette in 2008 and Negaunee in 2010.

Kingsford placed seven of eight flights in the finals Wednesday and won six.

“It has been a banner year,” Kingsford head coach Mark Shanks said in closing out his 13th season at the helm of the Flivvers. “We’ve been working on this (U.P. crown) for years.

“We had T-shirts made up with ‘1953’ on them. It’s the only goal Kingsford tennis has had for 6-7 years. It’s just a grand feeling.”

Kingsford senior Sean Ryan, part of his team’s winning No. 2 doubles unit with Ted Pietila, said capturing the peninsula title had been on the Flivvers’ minds for “a long time.”

“After last year, we didn’t lose too many seniors, so we set this as a goal.” he said. “Every team skull session, we talked about the 60-year drought.

“It feels great to this being our year.”

Sophomore Adam Szabo helped lead Kingsford with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Negaunee’s Ryan Syrjala at No. 2 singles.

“It was a pretty good match with a lot of line points,” said Szabo, who finished second last year at No. 2. “My serve was on and I hit a lot of winners with my backhand.”

Other Flivvers who won titles were Daniel Harrington at No. 3 singles; Brady Hicks at No. 4 singles; Alec Tuchowski and Joe Gregory at No. 3 doubles; and Tyler Schaut and Chris Roell at No. 4 doubles. Szabo and Hicks went undefeated this season. Daniel Harrington had just one loss. Tuchowski and Gregory, along with Schaut and Roell, were also unbeaten.

Shanks said his Flivvers’ team sported a group of special players.

“We have seven sensational seniors and these are the best group of kids I’ve had in my 26 total years as a tennis coach,” he said. “It was a great day for Flivver tennis, speaks highly of our program.”

Cody Tossava of Negaunee High School closed out a brilliant high school career on a high note Wednesday by taking the No. 1 singles title – his third consecutive peninsula crown overall. He won twice at No. 2 singles before Wednesday’s No. 1 championship.

Tossava beat Kingsford’s Caleb Harrington 6-4, 6-2 at No. 1 to remain unbeaten the last three seasons. Ironically, Tossava’s last loss came to Harrington in the 2010 U.P. Finals his freshman campaign.

“I told myself afterwards he started it and I finished it (Wednesday),” the NHS netter said. “I thought I really played well today. I served with consistency, and my forehand and backhand were good.”

Tossava came from behind in both sets, trailing 1-0 in the first and 2-1 in the second before winning both despite committing some unforced errors.

“Unforced errors are part of the game,” the southpaw said. “But I know what I’m capable of doing.

“My goal was to put (Harrington) on his backhand and spread him out. I did that and it opened my forehand a lot.”

Negaunee head coach Kyle Saari noted Tossava lost only one set all season.

The Miners saw their three-year reign as U.P. team champs – two outright – come to an end. They and MSHS finished with nine points each.

At No. 1 doubles, Escanaba’s Dave Fix and Justin Eastin – partners the last three seasons – toppled Marquette Senior High School’s Kyle King and Alex Shahbazi, 6-1, 7-6 (6).

U.P. Div. 1 Finals

At Marquette Wednesday

Team scores: 1. Kingsford, 21; 2. Marquette and Negaunee, 9 each; 4. Menominee, 8; 5. Escanaba, 5; Gladstone, 0

SINGLES – No. 1 – Cody Tossava (N) def. Caleb Harrington (K), 6-4, 6-2; Davey Luplow (MEN) and Aaron Parmet (G); No. 2 – Adam Szabo (K) def. Ryan Syrjala (N), 6-1, 6-0; TJ Myrick (E) and Justin Flood (K); No. 3 – Daniel Harrington (K) def. rob Sertich (N), 6-0, 2-6, 6-4; Nathan Anttila (MEN) and Noah Gannon (MQT); No. 4 – Brady Hicks (K) def. Devon Barley (MEN), 6-1, 6-2; Joe Weber (MQT) and Michael Anderson (N).

DOUBLES – No. 1 – Dave Fix/Justin Eastin (K) def. Kyle King/Alex Shahbazi (MQT), 6-1, 7-6 (6); Bret Anderson/Ryan Wood (MEN) and Dalton Allen/Aidan Wienke (K); No. 2 – Sean Ryan/Ted Pietila (K) def. Mike Edwards/Matt Collins (MQT), 6-2, 6-2; Steve Wood/Mike Shields (E) and Michael Kinsey and Caleb Kleiman (MEN); No. 3 – Alec Tuchowski/Joe Gregory (K) def. Chris Kelley/Colton Fernstrum (MEN), 6-4, 6-1; Alex Roth/Ben Luke (N) and Billy Mullett/Mike Mlsna (MQT); No. 4 – Tyler Schaut/Chris Roell (K) def. Mike Wiitala/Vejas Grazulis (MQT), 6-3, 6-2; Parker Bowman/Jacob Paupore and Jared Rivard/Colin Nerat (MEN).