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Muskegon-area No. 1 singles standouts head to tennis state finals

Whitehall’s Ashton Trnka and Mona Shores’ Drew Hackney will compete in Division 3 and Division 2, respectively.

Whitehall senior Ashton Trnka is pictured during the Greater Muskegon Athletic Association tournament Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, at Fruitport. (Zach Zweigle | CatchMark)

Two Muskegon-area No. 1 singles players have qualified for the boys tennis state finals and they will compete this weekend.

Whitehall senior Ashton Trnka and Mona Shores sophomore Drew Hackney will represent the area in the Division 3 finals in Midland and Division 2 finals in Holland, respectively. Competition for those divisions will be held Friday and Saturday.

No teams from the Muskegon area qualified for the state finals.

Whitehall came up just short of qualifying for state as a team, finishing third in the Forest Hills Eastern regional last week. The Vikings had eight points, finishing behind regional champ Forest Hills Eastern (23) and runner-up Ludington (11), which both advance to the state finals.

In regional play, the top two teams and No. 1 singles finalists qualify for the state finals.

Whitehall coach Greg McManus was extremely proud of how his Nos. 1-3 singles players performed at the regional.

“They played the best tournament of their careers,” he said. “The team came up a couple matches shy of qualifying, but overall we had a pretty good day.”

Trnka defeated Joey DeLong of Fremont 6-0, 6-1 in his opening match to kick off the regional. While en route to the finals, he knocked off Eli Tosterud of Spring Lake 6-2, 6-1. In the championship, Sreejay Ramakrishnan from Forest Hills Eastern defeated Trnka, 6-1, 6-0.

Trnka’s runner-up finish earned him a spot at the state finals. He’s been a leader for the Vikings, one who took second in the Greater Muskegon Athletic Association tourney, where he fell to Hackney.

“Ashton only lost four games going into the (regional) finals,” McManus said.

Mona Shores sophomore Drew Hackney is pictured during the Greater Muskegon Athletic Association tournament Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, in Fruitport. (Zach Zweigle | CatchMark)

Hackney fought his way through the regional bracket, defeating Ty Knottnerus of Lowell 6-0, 6-0 and Ryan Lee of Forest Hills Northern 6-1, 7-6 (4). Those victories advanced him to the finals of the region and secured his participation in the state finals.

In the regional finals match, which was postponed until Saturday, Hackney fell in a tough match to Sammy Yin of Forest Hills Central, 6-3, 6-2.

“Super proud of Drew,” Mona Shores coach Traci Hackney said. “He didn’t place his best today, but he was a great sport and had the best attitude.”

The Sailors placed third in at the regional with nine points, finishing behind champ Forest Hills Northern (17) and Forest Hills Central (15). All of the Sailors’ flights advanced to semifinal matches before falling with the exception of Hackney, who made it to the finals.

In a Division 4 regional tournament hosted by Traverse City St. Francis, North Muskegon finished third with six points to finish behind St. Francis (23) and Big Rapids (15).

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

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