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BOYS TENNIS: Talent galore on 2013 all-county team WITH TOUT WIDGET

Novi junior Tim Wang captured the No. 1 singles title at the Division 1 state finals this season. He finished the year 34-1. (The Oakland Press file photo/VAUGHN GURGANIAN)

Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood senior Stephane Teste (above) and partner Taylor Ghesquiere finished 19-6 this season at No. 1 doubles for the Cranes. They earned first-team all-state honors. (The Oakland Press file photo/JASON SCHMITT)

Novi's Andrew Ying (right) and Michael Chang finished 30-5 this season for the Wildcats. They were state semifinalist in Division 1 and earned all-state honors along the way. (The Oakland Press/VAUGHN GURGANIAN)

Clarkston coach Chas Claus led his Wolves to their first state tournament since 1982 this season. The team finished ninth at the Division 1 final. It also shared the OAA White title with Rochester, its first league title in 10 years. (Photo contributed)

Hard to find many flaws among the players which make up this year’s All-County Boys Tennis Team.

No one was undefeated this fall. But that’s hard to accomplish considering most of these players take turns beating up on each other throughout the season.

Birmingham Detroit Country Day once again proved to be the best in the state, knocking off all comers and winning its third straight Division 3 state championship. The Yellowjackets had plenty of individual champions. Novi and Birmingham Brother Rice had some, too. Many of those players are included on our all-county team, which appears for the first time here:



Singles

Michael Dube’ (Sr.), Novi Detroit Catholic Central
— For seven years, Catholic Central coach Joe Stafford has had the good fortune to have a Dube’ to rely on at or near the top of his lineup. That all came to an end this fall, as Michael Dube’ capped off a tremendous career for the

Shamrocks. A state champion at No. 2 singles his freshman season – when his team won the state championship — Dube’ has amassed a 109-13 career record.

He earned all-Catholic honors four straight years, winning league titles each season. He reached the state semifinals twice at No. 1 singles. A first-team all-state selection, he will play for Michigan State next year.

“It’s been really nice to have a Dube’ — first Joe, now Michael — to rely on in my lineup all these years,” Stafford said. “And the great thing about Michael is that he’s not just a great tennis player, he’s a quality person. He’s a great leader. We’re going to miss having him at Catholic Central.”

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Blake Hildebrand (Sr.), Birmingham Brother Rice — A four-year starter for the Warriors, Hildebrand helped his teams to Top-3 finishes in each of his four years with the program. A mainstay in the doubles lineup his first three seasons, this year he made the leap to No. 1 singles, where he finished 15-8 overall. Hildebrand captured a regional championship this season and went on to earn first-team all-state honors.



Justin Hyman (Jr.), Rochester Adams — After taking a big step forward a year ago, Hyman cemented himself as one of the state’s elite players this season. The junior reached the Division 1 state semifinals, where fell in three sets to eventual champion Tim Wang of Novi. Hyman finished 22-3 this season winning a regional title and finishing runner-up in the OAA Red. The first-team all-state selection has a 64-9 three-year mark for the Highlanders.

“I think you can put Justin’s ground strokes with anyone in the state. That’s the bread and butter of his game,” Adams coach Al Must said. “He’s playing smarter, with less volatility. He’s much more mature out there on the court. If he shows the same amount of growth next year, there’s a very good chance he can be a state champion.”



Alex Kim (Sr.), Lakeland — Kim capped off a stellar career this fall by amassing a 24-3 record. He won the KLAA B Tournament championship and was a regional semifinalist for the third straight season (he reached the state tournament as a freshman at Milford). Kim had a career record of 88-14. His losses came to some of the best talent the state has seen over the past four seasons, including Tyler Gardiner (3 times), Connor Johnston (2), John Mullane (2), Kevin Renehan (2), Michael Dube’ (2), Joe Dube’, Tim Wang and Trevor Stoimenoff. He made the Division 1 all-state first team this year.

“What is classiest about him as a player is that — as one of the best players in the state — he didn’t qualify, again, to go to states,” Lakeland coach Sean Beacome said. “With three of the top five players in the state in our region, he doesn’t complain about it. He recognizes that he is going to move on and play at the next level.”

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Rishi Patel (Sr.), Birmingham Detroit Country Day — Having dominated 3-singles over the past couple seasons, Patel proved he belonged among the top players in the state this year. The senior co-captain was thrust into the No. 1 singles position and performed brilliantly. He won a regional title and went on to finish as a state runner-up in Division 3. He was 18-8 overall, earned first-team all-state honors and was a finalist for the Mr. Tennis award.

“Being a senior — an individual state champion — it really showed this year,” County Day coach Josh Molino said. “To get thrown into that No. 1 spot, he handled it really well. He led by example. He was always prepared and he fought hard. He improved each match throughout the year.”



Kevin Rothstein (Jr.), West Bloomfield — Well liked both on and off the court, Rothstein made his presence known in 2013. A regional and OAA Red semifinalist, the junior finished 20-6 this season, finishing one match shy of qualifying for the Division 1 state tournament. His play earned him a spot on the Division 1 all-state first team. He also excels in the classroom, where he carries a 4.16 GPA.

“This year Kevin worked hard on taking time from his opponents and worked on improving his approach shots and coming into the net and making strong volleys,” his coach, Larry Stark said. “That will help him next year.”

HOW WOULD THESE PLAYERS STACK UP AGAINST THE REST OF THE STATE? CLICK HERE AND FIND OUT

Tim Wang (Jr.), Novi — Coming off a tremendous summer of USTA tennis, Wang continued his great play this fall. He finished 34-1 this season, his only loss coming to Connor Johnston of Northville, whom he went on to beat in straight sets three times, the last of which was a 6-1, 6-3 win in the Division 1 state championship match. His victories this year came against A-list talent, including Dube’, Hyman, Patel, Hildebrand, Jack Petersen (Huron), Josh Mukherjee (Bloomfield Hills), Michael Faber (Troy), Garrett Goldman (East Grand Rapids) and Franklin Brozovich (Port Huron Northern). He was first-team all-state.

“Tim utilized his consistent ground strokes, strong serve and competitive spirit to beat some of the best players in the state,” Novi coach Jim Hanson said. “His ability to change speeds and play the big points in close matches paid dividends for our team.”



Richard Zhang (Sr.), Troy Athens — The senior capped off a stellar four-year career which saw him set a school record for career wins at No. 1 singles. He finished 24-5 this season. He won the Athens Invite, the OAA Red Tournament and went on to win a regional title. He reached the Division 1 state quarterfinals before falling in three sets to Hyman. He was a member of the all-state first team.

“He’s the best player (Athens) has ever seen and was a great leader both on and off the court,” said his coach, Andrew Shipp. “Richard worked extremely hard, and he always cared about how his teammates were doing as well.”



Doubles

George Hamaty (Jr.) and Connor Parks (Sr.), Birmingham Brother Rice
— One of Brother Rice’s greatest strengths over the past several years has been its doubles lineup. That was certainly the case again this season, when the Warriors finished top-three at the Division 1 finals for the fifth straight year. Parks and Hamaty led the way. The pair won Catholic League and regional championships and went on to finish runner-up at the state finals.

They finished with an impressive 24-3 record and earned first-team all-state honors.



Blake Burstein (Jr.) and Damian Runkle (So.), Birmingham Detroit Country Day — Burstein moved up from No. 3 doubles. Runkle was a varsity reserve last year. Yet the pair quickly asserted itself as one of the best — if not the best — doubles team in the state. They lost to just Novi, Cranbrook and Midland Dow, the last of which won the Division 2 No. 1 doubles title.

Burstein and Runkle also beat Novi, Cranbrook and the Division 1 champions, Ann Arbor Huron. They finished 24-3, winning the Pioneer Quad, East Grand Rapids Quad, the regional championship and eventually, the Division 3 state title. They were, of course, first-team all-state selections.

“No. 1 doubles, it’s very competitive in the state. For two new guys to come in and play 1-doubles, I was really impressed with how they handled the pressure,” Molino said. “Their record speaks for itself. How young they were and how they handled themselves.”



Taylor Ghesquiere (Sr.) and Stephane Teste (Sr.), Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood — Like many of the doubles teams on this first team, this pairing played an extremely difficult schedule. Ghesquiere and Teste finished 19-6, with their losses coming to Novi, Brother Rice (2), St. Joseph (2) and Country Day — which it split with during the regular season.

They were state semifinalists and earned all-state first-team honors.

“Taylor and Stephane demonstrated great senior leadership and played with a lot of passion this year,” Cranbrook coach Jeff Etterbeek said. “Stephane had a great return of service and great instincts at the net. Taylor complemented that with a great forehand that could compete at any level. They played great as a team and were great ambassadors for Cranbrook Tennis.”



Michael Chang (Sr.) and Andrew Ying (Sr.), Novi — The Wildcats played one of the toughest schedules in the state this year. So for Chang and Ying to finish with a 30-5 record says a lot. The duo won three invitational tournaments and finished runner-up at two more. They were KLAA and regional champions, and they went on to reach the Division 1 state semifinals. For their efforts, Chang and Ying earned first-team all-state honors.

“They used their penetrating ground strokes and volleys to become a very good doubles team for us,” Novi coach Jim Hanson said. “They used their quickness to defense and counter their opponent’s aggressive play. Strong serves and good returns allowed this duo to compete with the best in the state.”



Coach of the Year

Chas Claus, Clarkston
— What do you get when you mix great talent with a little bit of luck? A dream season. That’s exactly what Claus and his Wolves experienced in 2013.

A highly-talented squad captured a share of the OAA White championship this year, then went on to take advantage of some nice draws at the regional tournament, where it finished with 19 points — good enough to qualify for the state finals. Clarkston then finished among the top 10 teams in the state.

"He’s put a lot of years in and I thought he worked real well with the group of players he had this year,” Adams coach Al Must said. “What he did for the school, for Clarkston high, was put the tennis team on the map. I was pulling for him.”



SECOND TEAM

Singles


Nicholas Ang (Jr.), Rochester

Michael Faber (So.), Troy

Koushik Kondapi (So.), Novi

Noah Karoub (So.), Detroit Country Day

Oliver Li (Fr.), Rochester Adams

Alex Matisse (Fr.), Clarkston

Griffin Mertz (Jr.), North Farmington

Josh Mukherjee (Fr.), Bloomfield Hills

Marc Sable (So.), Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood

Jeff Sophiea (Sr.), Holly

Doubles

Kenji Johnston (Sr.)-Griffin Neel (Jr.), Birmingham Seaholm

Dylan Deitch (Sr.)-Matt Meehan (Sr.), Bloomfield Hills

Matt Lillie (Jr.)-Scott Lillie (Jr.), Adams

Alex Balte (Jr.)-Connor Dubay (Sr.), Troy

HONORABLE MENTION

SINGLES


Maxx Anderson (So.), Novi; Gabe Apaza (Jr.), Novi Detroit Catholic Central; Zaven Dadian (So.), Birmingham Seaholm; Matt Dahl (Sr.), Clarkston; Jakob Gahn (So.), Birmingham Detroit Country Day; Denali Kitayami (Fr.), Walled Lake Central; Noah Kretchmer (Jr.), Berkley; Andre Liu (Jr.), Novi; Donovan Luttrell (Sr.), Southfield-Lathrup; Chase Peery (Jr.), Birmingham Brother Rice; Vinai Reddy (Sr.), Troy; Jack Winkler (Fr.), Birmingham Brother Rice; Davis Wong (Fr.), Birmingham Detroit Country Day

DOUBLES

Brendan Dillon (Jr.)-Joe Paradiso (Jr.), Birmingham Brother Rice; Joey Hildebrand (Sr.)-David Weatherford (Sr.), Birmingham Brother Rice; Dylan Lange (Jr.)-Bobby Vanfaussien (Sr.), Birmingham Groves; D.J. Bailey (Jr.)-Matt Stebbins (Sr.), Birmingham Detroit Country Day; Brendan Childress (Sr.)-Andrew Joslyn (Jr.), Birmingham Detroit Country Day; Adam Junn (So.)-Rishabh Nayak (Jr.), Birmingham Detroit Country Day; Chase Ghesquiere (So.)-Nolan Trepeck (So.), Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood; Joey Whall (Sr.)-Johnny Whall (Sr.), Clarkston; Craig Richards (Sr.)-Parker Rowse (Jr.), Holly; Colin Halow (Sr.)-Danny O’Neill (Sr.), North Farmington; Luke Brunson (Sr.)-Mike Sepeta (Jr.), Rochester



Jason Schmitt covers boys tennis for The Oakland Press. Email him at jason.schmitt@oakpress.com, read his "In The Zone" blog here and follow our high school tennis coverage on Twitter @JasonESchmitt. Check out the Tout widget below to watch tennis videos from this past season.

Last Updated: 11/17/2013 11:21:51 PM EST

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