Dow High’s boys’ tennis team won the Saginaw Valley League tournament for the 16th consecutive time on Thursday. And, as far as Chargers’ coach Terry Schwartzkopf is concerned, this Valley championship might be the most rewarding — and challenging– of all.
“This is an exciting accomplishment. Sixteen years is a long time,” noted Schwartzkopf, whose Chargers won seven of eight flights and earned 30 of a possible 32 points on Thursday. “My assistant coach Juan (Guerra) was a freshman when this run started, and it is really special that he is here serving as a coach in the program he helped build. I am both encouraged and excited to see how this season ends.
“What nobody seems to understand is this: we have not been full strength for a single match this season. Not one,” added Schwartzkopf, whose team has been hampered by injuries throughout the season. “We get Nimai (Patel) back this week, which means we will be completely whole for the first time at regionals.
“What a great time for things to come together. I don’t think other schools realize that they have not seen us as a complete team.”
Dow won three of the four singles flights, led by Austin King at No. 1 singles, who won all three of his matches, including a 6-1, 6-0 win over Jackson Keefe of Midland High; Joaco Garcia-Argibay at No. 2 singles, who won all three of his matches, including a 6-1, 6-0 win over Midland’s Parker Hillman; and Logan Yu at No. 4 singles, who won all three of his matches, including a 6-2, 6-0 win over the Chemics’ Tommy Kroll.
The Chargers swept the doubles flights, as Thomas Ladwein and Aaron Li went 3-0 at No. 1 doubles, including a 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 win over MHS’s Jacob Doyle and Josh Doyle; Boaz Qiu and Roofy Elsadaany went 3-0 at No. 2 doubles, including a 6-2, 6-3 victory over the Chemics’ Carter Albright and Braylen Laverty; Vish Karthikeyen and Shubhan Nagarkar went 3-0 at No. 3 doubles, including a 6-1, 6-4 win over Midland’s Aiden O’Malley and Dietrich Greiner; and Michael McGaugh and Jonathan Song went 3-0 at No. 4 doubles.
Dow’s Konnor Janeczko reached the semifinals by beating Mount Pleasant’s Brady Funnell 10-1 before falling 6-4, 6-2 to Midland’s Fred Temple.
“These guys are starting to believe that they are the players Juan and I have been telling them they are,” enthused Schwartzkopf. “Austin (King) avenged his loss to Grand Blanc, and first doubles took out the Doyles (from Midland High) for the second time this year. These guys really showed up today when it mattered most. It truly was a great day to be a Charger.
“Also, a huge shout-out to Bob Quinn and Jim Teal, who have run this tournament for a long, long time and just announced their retirement,” he added. “They have dedicated a huge part of their lives to tennis in the SVL, and we wish them well as they find peace in retirement, and we offer thanks for their lasting impact on local tennis.”
The Chargers will host a Division 2 regional at the Greater Midland Tennis Center on Wednesday.