Zach Trimpe and Alex Gray provided the Edwardsville boys’ tennis team with a glimpse of its bright future the past weekend.
And the Tigers liked what they saw during the IHSA finals in Chicagoland.
Trimpe, a freshman, and Gray, a sophomore, teamed to take fourth in the doubles competition Saturday at Arlington Heights Hersey High School. They won 5 of 7 matches in weekend play to complete a 31-7 season.
“I thought it was a great tournament for both Alex and myself,” Trimpe said via phone Saturday. “We played well and stuck to the game plan. I think we can do better next year, too.”
Thanks to their sharp work, the Tigers scored 20 points and shared eighth place with Lincolnshire Stevenson in the final team standings. Winnetka New Trier tallied 40 points for its first team title since 2011, but its 21st dating to 1936. Hinsdale Central was the 2016 runner-up with 31 points and Deerfield took third with 30 points.
“I think we were the highest finishing team outside of Chicago this year and that’s our 4th top-10 finish in the past 5 years,” Edwardsville coach Dave Lipe said. “We scored 15 of our points from our doubles play.”
The Tigers placed eighth in 2014, sixth in 2013 and ninth in 2012.
Trimpe and Gray won their first five matches in action Thursday and Friday. The competition stiffened Saturday when they reached the semifinals. Chris Casati and Niko Wasilewicz of Deerfield defeated them, 6-2, 6-2. Then David Aizenberg and Brandon Lew of Highland Park edged Trimpe and Gray in the third-place match, 7-6, 4-6, 6-2.
Michael Czlonka and Nick Calzolano of Hinsdale Central downed Deerfield’s Casati and Wasilewicz, 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 for the doubles championship. Vuk Budic of Deerfield bested Scott Bickel of New Trier, 6-2, 6-1 for the singles crown.
“It was really a tough day for us,” Lipe said Saturday. “The competition was excellent and we fought hard in the first match with Deerfield. Then we lost a tough three-setter to Highland Park.”
Trimpe and Gray matched the school-best showing in doubles competition. The 2012 tandem of Justin Leskera and Cameron Randall also finished fourth at state. George Tormohlen is the top singles finisher in EHS history. He snared fifth in 1957.
Other Tigers made their mark at state the past weekend. Junior Erik Weiler went 3-2 in singles play and senior Luke Motley was 1-2. Senior Carson Ware and freshman Seth Lipe were 2-2 in doubles action.
Edwardsville returns 4 of its top 6 players from a team that won the Southwestern Conference championship and its own sectional. Trimpe and Gray figure to lead the way next spring.
“Obviously, they had a great year and both of them improved,” Lipe said. “They have a lot of potential.”
Trimpe added, “We want to improve our whole game and as we get older, we want to get stronger.”
More strength can translate to more success, Lipe said.
“If they want to improve on what they did this year, they can do that,” he said of Trimpe and Gray.