by Graham Sturgeon, co-editor

THE CHESANING INDIANS BOYS TENNIS team tasted victory for the 18th time this season on Tuesday, Sept. 27 against Corunna. The win set a new school record for team wins in a season, one of many records broken by the Chesaning tennis players this season. Coach Dave Gasper says he knew he had a good team coming into the year, but he has been “pleasantly surprised” by the number of talented underclassmen that made improvements this year under the guidance of the team’s five seniors. Gasper, who has compiled a 172-46 record since taking the head coaching job to begin the 2000 season, will be inducted into the Michigan High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame Feb. 3, 2017.

The team gathered for this picture following its Sept. 9 victory against Bullock Creek. (Courtesy Photo/John Karlik)

The Chesaning Indians boys tennis team recently wrapped up an 18-2 regular season, and the 14-member group re-wrote the Chesaning tennis record books in the process. The tennis program has established a winning tradition over the last 17 years under the leadership of Coach Dave Gasper. The 2017 Michigan High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame inductee has produced only one losing season since taking over as coach for Jim Freeland prior to the 2000 season, and has won three conference championships, in 2001, 2003, and 2009.

This year’s team was not able to steal the Tri-Valley Conference (TVC) championship from the favored Essexville-Garber team, but the Indians did break the school record for team wins in a season at 18, which bested the 16-win mark established by last year’s team. Four individual school records were also set this season, including the school records for career wins, and wins in a season at

No. 2 singles, No. 4 singles, and No. 2 doubles. Additionally, No. 1 singles player Nick Karlik has tied Lincoln Wirgau’s season record of 18 wins and has a chance to break the record at regionals.

Senior Mateo Escamilla broke Jason Muirhead’s career record of 73 wins on Sept. 24 at the Saginaw Nouvel Quad, and he pushed his new record to 75 wins when he and his No. 1 doubles partner, Riley Russell, beat Ovid-Elsie on Monday, Oct. 3 at the TVC Tournament in Midland.

The season record for most wins at No. 2 singles now belongs to sophomore Jarrett Kelley, who broke Troy Harmon’s mark of 23 wins by defeating Frankenmuth’s Ryan Dukovich 6-0, 6-1 at the TVC Tournament. Kelley added his 25th win of the season later in the day by beating Caro’s Ethan Sizemore, and the future team ace went on to finish second in the tournament at No. 2 singles. Kelley has lost only three matches all season after moving up from the No. 4 singles spot he occupied in 2015.

Sophomore Joshua Wirt overtook TJ Aldrich’s season record of 21 wins at No. 4 singles late in the regular season, and Wirt has since extended the record to 24 wins. He beat Hannah Marietta of Hemlock 6-3, 6-4 in the opening round of the TVC Tournament before defeating Dylan Kinnamon of Ovid-Elsie 6-1, 6-1 to clinch second place at the tournament.

Ed Murphy broke his own record at No. 2 doubles, improving last year’s record of 22 wins to 24 this season. Murphy and his partner, Dillon Bissonnette, broke the record Oct. 3 with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Alma, and extended the record to 24 with a 6-3, 6-0 Ithaca. The win over Ithaca moved Murphy and Bissonnette into the No. 2 doubles finals, where they fell to Essexville-Garber.

TVC tennis powerhouse Essexville-Garber won all eight flights at the TVC Tournament, but Chesaning took second place in six of the eight flights, including No. 2 singles (Kelley),

No. 3 singles (Jack Muirhead), No. 4 singles (Wirt), No. 2 doubles (Murphy/Bissonnette), No. 3 doubles (Kieran Himm/Austin Rolka), and No. 4 doubles (Garrett Powell/Dawson Giesken).

Chesaning Tennis Makes History was last modified: October 10th, 2016 by Karen Elford