Dividend-payoff time for Petoskey?
John Boyer certainly hopes so.
Boyer’s Petoskey High School boys’ tennis team goes into the Division III regional Thursday at Spring Lake seeking a third consecutive regional title and a trip to the state tournament.
“Experience for sure is a big factor in it,” Boyer said. “Walking on the court and having confidence in your game because you’ve been in that situation before, you know you can pull out the win when you neeed to.”
Most of the Northmen have indeed been there before. Nine of the 12 who will take to the courts on Thursday played in last year’s regional and in the ensuing state finals, where the Northmen tied for seventh.
A rugged regular-season schedule has helped to put the Northmen in the position of favorite, and the seedings bear that out. They are seeded first in seven of the eight flights, and are seeded second in the other.
Petoskey’s top competition figures to come from host Spring Lake and Big North Conference rival Cadillac. In dual matches this season, Petoskey defeated Spring Lake, 8-0; and Cadillac, 7-1.
“Even though we beat Spring Lake and Cadillac earlier in the season, at regionals, anything can happen,” said Boyer, whose team is ranked seventh in the Michigan High School Tennis Coaches Association Division III state poll. “We just all have to show up and play on the same day.”
Big Rapids, Cedar Springs, Comstock Park, Coopersville, Fruitport and Sparta round out the field.
Host Traverse City St. Francis and Ludington are the favorites at Thursday’s Division IV regional at Traverse City Central, and Harbor Springs should be in the hunt.
The Rams are seeded in five flights, including No. 1 singles. Ram sophomore Sam Dart is the defending regional champ at No. 1, and he takes a 16-1 record into the tournament.
Dart’s lone loss this season came to Chance Connelly of Portland, and he is 3-0 against two of the other three regionally seeded players. He has twice defeated the top player from Elk Rapids, and also has a win over the No. 1 player from Whitehall.
The other seeded player at No. 1 singles is from Ludington.
“Sam has a good chance, but he’s going to have to play his best tennis if he’s going repeat,” Harbor coach Brad Reed said. “It’s going to be some really good tennis at 1 singles. Fun to watch. Might be a little stressful as a coach, but (Dart’s) playing good tennis right now, hitting the ball really well.”
Harbor is seeded fourth at four other flights: Louis Walsh at No. 2 singles; Stewart Bower at No. 4 singles; James Adams-Neal Zoerhof at No. 2 doubles; and Harley Luplow-Evan Roskinski at No. 3 doubles.
Ludington is seeded in every flight, while St. Francis is seeded in five flights, including all four doubles flights. The Orioles and Gladiators are tied, along with Jackson Lumen Christi, for ninth in the Division IV state poll.
The top two teams advance to the state finals. A team can also qualify for the finals by scoring 10 points in the regional.
“I think we have a very good shot at getting 10 points,” Reed said. “We had a pretty successful draw. We have a lot of matches that we should be very competitive in, if not win them.”
Northmen, Rams tee it up in regionals
The Petoskey and Harbor Springs girls’ golf teams will compete Thursday in their respective regional tournaments.
The Northmen will go to the Division III regional at Katke Golf Course on the campus of Ferris State University in Big Rapids, while the Rams will play in the Division IV regional hosted by Whitehall at Old Channel Trail Golf Club in Montague.
The top three teams advance to the state finals, which are scheduled for Oct. 14-15.
The Division III finals are scheduled for Forest Akers West, while the Division IV finals are set for Forest Akers East. Both courses are on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing.