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Escanaba ends historic season with a U.P. Finals championship

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Negaunee, Mich. (WJMN) – For the first time since 2007, the Escanaba Eskymos finished the season as MHSAA D1 U.P. Finals champions.

“I can’t put it into words. It’s amazing. I want to thank god who gave me the talent to get these guys together and the talent that they have,” said Tom Penegor, the head coach for Escanaba Boys Tennis. “Its been since 2007 since we won this. So, it has been a long time and I’m just proud of these guys because they’ve worked hard.”

The Eskymos featured multiple individual champions. Viktor Pospisil and Ryan Moreau of Escanaba took home the title in #1 doubles in straight sets (7-6, 6-2).

“We had like three chances because it was 40-0 for us, said Pospisil. “We screwed up the first two balls so I was kind of down. But then we changed the last point and it was just a lot of emotions I would say.”

“It was 2-2 match play, they won two and we won two previously this season,” said Moreau. “It was nice to take that final win in the U.P’s at their court. It felt really good.”

For the first time since 1999, the Eskymos ended the season with both a U.P. title and a Great Northern Conference title.

“Our two biggest goals throughout the year were to have fun and to get better,” said Penegor. “Normally in the past years, Negaunee was always the team to beat. We would play them earlier in the year and we were somewhat close to them, but by the end of the year, they would widen the gap. This year we actually closed the gap and passed them. So, it’s a great accomplishment for these guys because Negaunee is a program that we try to get close to, and this year we did and we passed them, so I’m very proud of that.”

A bright spot for Neagunee was the play of Will Luke. Luke took home the #1 singles title after defeating Escanaba’s Gunner Dlugas (6-0, 6-0). He became the first Miner in school history to end the season undefeated without dropping a single set.

“I mean, that’s amazing just to go down in history with that accomplishment,” said Luke. “Just all the hard work and really just going into every match and just making sure I do all the little things right to make sure I don’t drop any sets or any unnecessary games really. It really feels amazing honestly just all the hard work I put in this year. It just feels good that I came out with a victory in the U.P. Finals.”

Other individual champions include:

#2 Singles Champion: Luke Syrjala – Negaunee

#3 Singles Champion: Nathan Howes – Escanaba

#4 Singles Champion: Danny Birch – Menominee

#2 Doubles Champions: Issac Maki/Dawson Williams – Escanaba

#3 Doubles Champions: Tanner McDonald/Jordan Nance – Escanaba

#4 Doubles Champions: Nathan Marcotte/Brayden Oglesby – Negaunee

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