TRI-CITY AREA — The Almont boys' tennis team fell two places shy of netting their 25th straight state final appearance, registering a fourth last Friday at a Division 4 regional.
Almont High School and Imlay City High School is where the action unfolded.
Almont fourth doubles player Terry Papineau returns a shot in a Division 4 regional last Friday. The Raiders took fourth in the regional. photo by Kevin Kissane.
When the scores were tallied, Richmond (26 points) and Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett (22) held down the top-two finish positions. Royal Oak Shrine also saw to it that their season would continue a bit longer, amassing 18 points (putting them exactly on the number needed to advance as an additional qualifer) on the way to a third.
Those three schools move on to the Division 4 state finals set for this Friday and Saturday in Jenison.
Almont (12 points) took fourth at last Saturday's regional. They were followed by Armada (eight points), Imlay City (six), Burton Atherton (five), Sandusky and West Bloomfield Jewish Academy (two each) along with Clawson (zero).
"We knew coming in that it would be tough to advance," Almont Coach Nathan Immekus said. "Richmond (no. 6, Division 4) and Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett (no. 9, Division 4) were the teams everyone thought would move on and Royal Oak Shrine was expected to challenge both of them for those spots," he noted.
"We have a young team as a whole this fall. Where we wound up today was a good showing for this squad."
Matt Bulger (first singles), Alex Schubert (second singles), Nate Zgnilec (third singles), Jamil Saba (fourth singles) along with Ian Saba and Terry Papineau (fourth doubles) led Almont with semifinal appearances.
Jason Smith and Steve Lesniak paced Imlay City that day. The reached the second doubles title tilt, falling 4-6, 4-6 to Richmond's combination of Joe Gurzick and Ryan Bissell.
The Imlay City fourth doubles team of Cody Campbell and Joe Rettell also gave a good account of themselves. The duo advanced to their flight's semifinal round before seeing their tournament path draw to a close.