Article by Andy Sandrik, The Sentinel
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HARRISBURG — Everything went according to plan during Friday’s Mid-Penn Class AAA Tennis Tournament, held at Central Dauphin East and Central Dauphin high schools.
Everything, that is, except for the emergence of Mechanicsburg’s Josh Ringquist.
Ringquist, who compiled a 7-7 record during the regular season, turned in the biggest upsets of the day at No. 1 singles, unseating No. 4-seed Cameron Moore of Gettysburg in three sets before defeating Palmyra’s Pearce Cleary in another three-setter.
With the pair of wins, Ringquist punched his ticket to the District 3 Tournament.
“I ended the season with a .500 record, so it’s quite exciting,” Ringquist said. “I knew I had a shot today, but if I didn’t give it everything I had, I’d be gone.”
Ringquist overcame cold and windy weather, not to mention a hard-hitter in Moore, to win his first-round match by a 6-2, 1-6, 6-1 score.
Ringquist lost to Moore earlier in the season, but thought he had a chance to win this time around.
“Whenever I heard I drew (Moore), I was excited to get another chance,” Ringquist said. “I wanted another shot at him.
“I kept my head and played a game I could play that would make him struggle.”
Ringquist had no intentions of trying to hit the ball with the same velocity as Moore, saying, “I can’t beat him with power shots.”
So Ringquist went with the finesse game instead, using finely-placed shots and slices to put Moore on the ropes. With the wind blowing hard, Ringquist said he wasn’t aiming for spots, rather areas of the court instead.
“I had to adapt,” Ringquist said. “I wasn’t trying to overpower him.”
Ringquist advanced to the quarterfinals and then defeated Cleary 7-6(5), 3-6 and 7-5. As the score would indicate, it was a close match throughout. However, late in the third set, Cleary began to get frustrated, shouting at himself after several points.
Ringquist took advantage of his disgruntled opponent to win the match and advance to today’s semifinals.
“I managed to keep my head and hit safe shots to challenge him,” Ringquist said. “I was pouring the effort in. If I give up, I definitely lose that match.
“When he was getting mad, I kept my focus and my head. I think that was the difference in the match.”
Ringquist’s award for his two wins? A match with No. 1 seed Ben Kunkel of Red Land. Kunkel remained unbeaten on the season, advancing to the semifinals on a first-round bye and a 6-2, 6-1 win over CD East’s Nathan Beachy in the quarterfinals.
Kunkel said he couldn’t feel his hands because of the cold during the first few games against Beachy. Kunkel’s hands, and game, eventually got warm as the match progressed and the Red Land stud gave up only three games to his opponent.
“I felt my serve was good,” Kunkel said. “Once I got my forehand going, that’s what led me through the match.
“When my forehand is rolling, that’s when everything comes together.”
Kunkel was asked if he was feeling any pressure after drawing the highest seed he’s had at the tournament since he was a No. 4 seed as a freshman.
“I do feel pressure, it’s different coming and being expected to at least make the semis,” Kunkel said. “But I enjoy the pressure, I enjoy being the big man on campus.”
Ringquist knows that he will have his hands full with Kunkel, but is excited about his opportunity.
“If I play well, I think I can give him a run for his money,” Ringquist said.
Article by Jeremy Elliott, The Patriot-News
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Once the spring season got into full swing, winning wasn’t the only objective of the Hershey boys’ tennis team.
Head coach Mic Wallace watched his team put together a string of sweeps. The Trojans didn’t give up a set, much less lose a match on the singles or doubles courts in Mid-Penn play.
At that point, Wallace formulated a new goal for his team, one that he wanted to extend to the postseason: He wanted his team to dominate.
The Trojans looked playoff-ready Tuesday in a 5-0 sweep over Keystone Division challenger Mechanicsburg at the Hershey Recreation Center. All five of Hershey’s wins this season have looked the same, with Wallace’s team victorious on every court.
“With as many 5-0 wins as we were getting, I wanted our team to send a message,” Wallace said. “I knew we had a ton of depth, and we needed to make a statement.
“I thought we lost a couple of decisions last year and under-performed. We lost a couple of matches I didn’t think we should have, and we want to show other teams what they are going to be up against.”
Looks like a brick wall.
Wallace wasn’t spouting off. His Trojans are loaded, and it only got better with the arrival of Sebastian Callejas, a foreign exchange student from Ecuador. That allowed Elbert Mets and Ben Wagner to bump down to No. 2 and No. 3 singles.
That played huge against the Wildcats. Mets was spot on in a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Mitch Wirth that gave the Trojans a quick 1-0 lead.
The Trojans (5-1, 2-0) are also pretty accomplished in doubles. The No. 1 team of Ben Gette and Aaron Ellenberger had a lapse in the first set, but still managed a 6-4 decision. The duo got back in form in the second and posted a 6-2 clincher for a 2-0 team lead.
As good as Hershey looked under windy, chilly conditions, the Wildcats weren’t intimidated. Despite being down, No. 1 Josh Ringquist and No. 3 singles ace Sam Eisenhower pushed their matches to third sets against Callejas and Trojans No. 3 Ben Wagner.
But Wagner regained his form. He attacked with his forehand and charged the net to put away easy points and bank a team-clinching 6-2, 6-7 (6), 6-1 victory over Eisenhower.
“He started to play better, and I made errors,” said Wagner, who is undefeated on the season. “I got it back together in the third, hitting to his backhand and putting the ball away.
“Mechanicsburg is a good team. This was a must-win match for us, and it felt good to beat them and take the lead in the division.”
Like Wagner, Callejas found a rhythm in the third and played better than he had the entire match. He finished off Ringquist for a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 win.
“My team is where I expected them to be,” Wildcats head coach Pat Smith said. “[Hershey] is very deep. I think it will be them and Red Land or Cumberland Valley at Mid-Penns.
“I’m pleased with my No. 1. He played a great match, his best of the season. My No. 3 didn’t give up and got valuable experience. Our guys are getting better, and I have everyone back next year except my No. 2. I like the direction we’re going.”
So does Wallace.
He was concerned coming into the match. Mechanicsburg played a match Monday, while his Trojans haven’t saw action since last Thursday.
But his team erased any doubt, and the No. 2 doubles team of David Muscalus and Kabir Singh capped the win an emphatic 6-1, 6-2 exclamation point win over Josh Gustafson and Kevin Koch.
“A win is always a win,” Wallace said. “The big thing is that we sometimes come out in first gear, and we need to come out in third.
“I was concerned we would be flat, but everyone picked it up like they needed to.”
Lift for Life is the signature event of “Uplifting Athletes,” a nonprofit organization created by Penn State Football student-athletes. Their mission is to align college football with rare diseases and recognize them as a national priority. MASH students have joined the effort of the Penn State chapter to raise money and promote awareness for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of kidney cancer. This rare disease has directly affected several staff members at MASH in recent years. Don Shirley, the inspiration behind the Lift for Life initiative, lost his decade long battle with kidney cancer in October, 2006. His death has strengthened our resolve to continue his work. All proceeds raised by the Lift for Life event benefit the Kidney Cancer Association. Since 2003, over $300,000 has been raised for this cause, and as a result, a number of new breakthroughs have been developed in the fight against this deady disease. The Lift for Life competition consists of an eleven-event competition, wherefour-member male or female teams compete. The exercises vary from traditional fitness and lifting activities such as the bench press, to more extreme challenges, such as the giant tire flip. We are inviting you to join us in the fight against kidney cancer.