Repeat is sweet for Lancers at own tennis invite

News-DemocratApril 20, 2013 

— The Belleville East Lancers continued to keep it in the family Saturday at the Belleville East Invitational tennis tournament.

Jacob Hamilton outlasted O'Fallon's Mehal Amin in a three-set marathon to take the No. 5 singles title while Chase Stumne and Adam Youck also won titles as the Lancers edged Peoria Richwoods for the team championship in a 16-team event at East High School.

After splitting the first two sets, Hamliton blanked Amin in the final set to come away with a 6-3, 0-6, 6-0 win as the Lancers won their own tournament for the second straight year.

East, which won four tournaments this season, including three in a row, hadn't won its own tournament since 2004 until breaking that streak a year ago.

Now, thanks to their depth, they've won in consecutive seasons.

"We went a long time between wins. It seemed that every year I was giving out the championship trophy to Belleville West or St. Louis U. (High School)," Lancers coach Dan Skaer said. "It feels good to win. It feels good to keep it in the family.

"Our strength has been known to be our depth and that was the difference. To be able to make it to the finals in six of nine flights. That shows how strong we are one-through-six."

Stumne defeated O'Fallon's Nick Mullen 6-3, 6-1 in the No. 4 singles final while Youck won at No. 6 singles for East.

The Lancers finished the two-day tournament with 64 points. Richwoods was second with 51.

Clayton (Mo.) placed third with 46 points. O'Fallon (44) and Belleville West (42) rounded out the top five teams.

West got a championship effort from Adam Seppi and Cole Henke at the No. 1 doubles.

In addition to the three singles championships, East also won the No. 3 doubles division on Friday, when Lucas Birk and Zach Fields defeated Kevin Wang and Jack Downing of Peoria Richwoods 6-1, 6-2.

East also posted a pair of second-place finishes and a third-place finish.

Second-place Richwoods only singles championship came from Nico Khazzam in the No. 3 singles, while Clayton won the No. 1 and No. 2 singles flights.

Mac Rechan defeated Centralia's Ben Urshan 6-0, 6-0 in the No. 1 singles final, while Joe Dulle defeated East's Birk 6-1, 6-0 in the No. 2 singles final.

"The two players from Clayton are both highly ranked on the Missouri Valley Circuit. They were in a class of their own," Skaer said. "Overall, I thought our (Southwestern) Conference did very well here this weekend.

"O'Fallon and Belleville West both played very well. They will be handful when it's time for the sectional tournament."

O'Fallon's fourth-place finish was led by four second-place finishes in singles.

Seppi and Henke led the way for West, as they defeated East's Aaron Skaer and Adam Youck 6-2, 6-4 in the No. 1 doubles final.

"I was very pleased with their effort," West coach Andy Brunner said of his top doubles combination. "They have been a very good doubles team all year and they've close to becoming a great doubles team. It was just a matter of staying focused and concentrating for an entire match. They've been right there with some of the top teams in the state.

"The difference this weekend was that this time they finished it off."

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