ESCANABA — Per week has handed because the Escanaba Eskymos have been topped Upper Peninsula Division tennis champions with memories that may possible final a lifetime.

“It was emotional and exciting, probably one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had,” mentioned fifth-year coach Tom Penegor. “Not solely do you expertise the joy surrounding the occasion — as a coach you see what they need to do completely different — however you possibly can’t exit and do it for them.

The Eskymos scored 19 factors for his or her first title in 14 years, adopted by host and three-time defending champ Negaunee 13 and Menominee 10.

“The guys were very motivated and hungry,” mentioned Penegor. “They went out and took the title. It wasn’t given to them. We wished the youngsters to win every match. We didn’t need them to consider it. We simply wished them to exit and do it.

“Hats off to Menominee, which won a three-setter, and Negaunee, which won a three-setter at No. 4 singles. They (Negaunee) put the work and time in. We used them as our model in that we had to do the same thing. The team in 2018 was probably just as talented, but they weren’t as hungry as this year’s team. You have to work hard every day to find out what works for them.”

Prior to the championship spherical, the trail to the title turned just a little longer because the groups skilled a three-hour rain delay.

“As coaches, we sit down and consider the situation,” mentioned Penegor. “How do you react to that? We’re very proud of them. They really did well. What I think helped us is going through a strong challenge in the Great Northern Conference meet (May 27 at Marquette). I think we gained some mental toughness.”

The Eskymos received that meet for the primary time since 2003, additionally marking the primary time since 1999 they have been GNC and U.P. champs in the identical 12 months.

“We have quite a few guys coming back,” mentioned Penegor. “We’ll definitely be senior-oriented next year. I appreciate my wife being patient and letting me go out and coach these kids and share my time with them and our assistant coaches (Chris Ogren and Alan Adams) for all their support. I’m very blessed to have them and great kids and parents. I also want to thank God for providing me with this opportunity.”

Among these anticipated to return are reigning No. 3 singles champion Nathan Howes and No. 2 doubles champs Isaac Maki and Dawson Williams.

Viktor Pospisil and Ryan Moreau (No. 1 doubles) and Tanner McDonald-Jordan Nance (No. 3 doubles) have departed as U.P. champions.

The program has a wealthy historical past regardless of the prior absence of GNC and U.P. titles.

“We had several (NCAA) Division 1 players come through the ranks at Escanaba,” mentioned Penegor. “We had some good teams and players in the ’70s and ’80s.”

Among them are Dennis Lueneburg, Tom Mitchell and Paul Pertile, all of whom performed at Western Michigan University.

Penegor says he’s impressed with among the amenities within the U.P.

“Marquette, Negaunee, Westwood and Kingsford all have state of the art courts,” he added. “It would really be nice to have some of those here.”

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