Chargers, Maroons face difficult draws at state tourney
CHAMPAIGN – The tennis gods did Champaign-area tennis players no favors in the draw at today's state tournament.
In fact, it's hard to determine which player got handed the hardest path; they're all facing uphill climbs, or so it seems.
Start with sectional singles champ David Ruedi of Centennial. If he reaches the second round, he'd likely face 17-32 seed Jimmy Li of Wheaton Warrenville South. Awaiting in the third round is 5-8 seed Ben Hooglund of Glenbrook South.
Then there's Centennial's doubles team – Lupetti Tulua and Akshay Krishnamani – which was paired against 3-4 seed Drew Feder and Corey Stumne of Belleville East.
"So, goodbye," Centennial coach Don Waybright said bluntly.
Champaign Central fared no better. The Maroons' Keegan Bannon faces last year's third-place finisher, Augie Bloom of Hinsdale Central. And Central's top singles player, Joel Yambert, doesn't have anything easy, either. He'll see Morton's Brock Reiman in today's opening round, and Reiman "is one of the top players in central Illinois," Maroons coach Scott Davis said.
So, what's a guy to do?
Hang in there.
"No expectations," Davis said. "Have some fun and (play) loose and see if we can get a few matches in.
"Keegan's going to have the toughest first round. We'll talk to him about, 'You're playing one of the best players in the state, enjoy the opportunity and learn from it.' He's one of those kids that just doesn't quit at anything, so I don't think he'll be disappointed. I think the kids are all focused on, 'Let's win two or three matches, regardless of (whether) it's the championship draw or the backdraw.' "
For the sectional champion Chargers, they'll at least have some momentum on their side.
"We felt pretty good about our (play at) sectional," Waybright said.