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Ludington’s boys tennis team qualifies for Division 4 state finals

Orioles finish runner-up in tough regional at Traverse City St. Francis; Whitehall places fourth.

Ludington’s boys tennis team finished runner-up in Thursday’s Division 4 regional hosted by Traverse City St. Francis, as the Orioles punched their ticket to the Oct. 20-21 state finals at Hope College.

Ludington finished with 16 points. Traverse City St. Francis was regional champion with 18 points. Maple City Glen Lake finished third with 14 points and also qualifies for the state finals because it totaled at least 10 points at the regional.

Whitehall finished fourth in the regional with five points, ending the Vikings’ season.

Flight winners for Ludington included Charles Kolb at No. 2 singles, Reece Ward at No. 4 singles, and the No. 2 doubles tandem of Ryan Higley and Oliver Kolb.

Flight runners-up for Ludington were Jack Stidham at No. 3 singles and the No. 3 doubles team of Zach Walunas and Tyler Keillor.

“We would have liked to come away as regional champions, but this was by far the toughest regional in Division 4 as well as the toughest regional I have ever been a part of,” Ludington coach Rob Killips said. “You have three of the top five teams in the state in the same regional as well as a very solid Whitehall team.

“Points were hard to come by. We are very happy to be a state qualifier and have set ourselves up to receive some very high seeding at the state tournament.”

Ludington tennis coach Rob Killips, left, watches as his team cruised to the title in the Coastal Conference boys tennis tournament Monday, Oct. 9, 2023, at Whitehall High School in Whitehall, Mich. (Scott DeCamp | CatchMark)

Ludington No. 1 singles player Robby Killips finished third, but he was in a pool with two of the top four players in Division 4. Killips played a close match with his Glen Lake opponent but came up just short.

Charles Kolb won his flight and improved to 33-1 on the season.

Stidham had a good showing as well, losing a tough match in the regional final.

Ward was a regional champion for the second straight year. He could land anywhere from the second to the fourth seed at the state finals, coach Killips said.

Ludington’s No. 1 doubles team of Will James and Chaz Leonard played very well, according to coach Killips, and ended in third place.

Ludington’s No. 2 doubles team of Higley and Oliver Kolb won its flight and improved to 32-1 on the season. Both are freshmen and have not lost since their opening match of the season.

Ludington’s No. 3 doubles team of Walunas and Keillor avenged an early-season loss to Glen Lake before the duo fell to St. Francis in the final.

Ludington’s No. 4 doubles team of Jonah Bluestein and Ryder Saya won its first-round match to help seal a trip to the state finals.

“We are hoping for some top seeds and a good finish in the state tournament,” Killips said.

Lead writer for CatchMark SportsNet and Web Services leader for CatchMark Technologies.

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