After winning three of five matches at the IHSA State Tennis Tournament a year ago, Mascoutah sophomore Andy Graf is aiming higher heading into the 2016 event.
Graf tuned up for his second strip to the state finals on Saturday by edging Max Skaer 6-3, 7-6 in a battle of elite underclassmen as he took the singles title at the Belleville East Tennis Sectional.
The champion of the Mississippi Valley Conference, Graf is the only Indians player to earn abid in the state finals which begin on Thursday at sites throughout the Chicago area.
Belleville West, which edged Belleville East for the sectional team title (18-17) advanced a pair of doubles teams. The Maroons top tandem of Drew Boyles and Derek Henke defeated teammates Nick Harry and Ian Burger 7-5, 6-2.
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It will be the second straight trip to the state finals for Henke and Boyles.
Belleville East also advanced four players. Sophomore Christian Cowulich placed fourth in singles while the Lancers doubles team of Austin Klug and Josh Thomas, placed third.
Also advancing to the state finals were the Waterloo High doubles team of Grant Rodenberg and Ryan Stites. Althoff junior Donovan McKnight placed third in singles to move on
The top four placewinners in both singles and doubles from all sectionals earn bids to the state tournament.
At the Edwardsville Sectional
The Edwardsville Tigers weren’t perfect, but they were close as they captured a 16th straight sectional championship on Saturday at the Edwardsville Tennis Sectional
Junior Erik Weiler continued to show one of the top power games in southern Illinois as he defeated Edwardsville teammate Luke Motley 6-2, 6-4 in the singles final. In doubles, it was the Tigers tandem of Zach Trimpe and Alex Gray with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Alex Goldacker and Alex Roth of Jerseyville in the final.
Edwardsville, which finished with 27 points, also got a third place finish from freshman Seth Lipe and senior Carson Ware.
At the Triad Sectional
O’Fallon sophomore Dominic Macaluso rolled to an easy 6-2, 6-1 win over Triad’s Brendan Grigg in the singles final to lead the way as the Panthers early won the Triad Sectional. O’Fallon, which finished with 27 points, also got a third place finish from Niko Papachrisanthou who beat Triad’s Nick Parsons 6-2, 6-1 in the third place match.
The Panthers dominated in doubles where Riley Muren and Shree Patel defeated Prem Patel and Quincy Dollison 6-2, 6-3 in the final. Triad advanced Ryan Froidcouer and Levi Triplo who placed third by beating teammates Jack Guse and Reiss Naylor in the third place match