Charleston netters place fourth
Underclassmen perform well in state tourney
SPRINGFIELD - Charleston's tennis team wrapped up its season on Saturday.
Singles standout Alec Peterson and the doubles team of Lee Hess and Blake Branum both placed fourth.
"It's a great way to cap off a good year," said Charleston head coach Mitch Baker. "10-1 and district champs and to finish off a year like that is really good for them. I'm happy for the guys and I'm happy to have Coach (Seth) Benton help me out. He's a real asset to the program. He really helped Alec a lot this year."
Peterson reached the final four on Friday but lost to freshman Jack Levis of MICDS 6-4, 7-5 in the semifinals. He then lost to Hunter McGrath of Pembroke Hill 6-0, 6-2.
"His heart wasn't in the third place match," said Baker. "He was pretty disappointed and he didn't play as well. But there's a whole lot of other players in the state that would like to be in his shoes with a fourth place medal."
Charleston's doubles team lost in the semifinals to Eric Abramson and Tyler Kotiza of Ladue 6-2, 6-1. They were then defeated in the third place match by Andrew Hinojosa and Grayson Hinojosa of Mt. Vernon 6-2, 6-3.
"They had played really well," said Baker of Hess and Branum. "The scores in that Ladue match weren't any indication of how close it was. They had game points several times. The Mt. Vernon team was 25-0 coming into Saturday. They lost a three-set match to John Burroughs. We played them tough."
Baker says the experience is invaluable for his players, who all return next season.
"They made a few mistakes but they're young," said Baker. "They're all underclassmen. I feel fortunate to have those guys back. They represented Charleston very well."