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Franklin boys tennis team wins third straight Southeast Conference crown

Gumina leads four flight titles

Franklin’s first singles player Jack Gumina won the No. 1 singles flight at the Southeast Conference Tournament last week and led the Sabers to their third straight league championship.

Franklin’s first singles player Jack Gumina won the No. 1 singles flight at the Southeast Conference Tournament last week and led the Sabers to their third straight league championship. Photo By John O'Hara

May 27, 2014

First singles player Jack Gumina of the Franklin tennis team is a realist.

He and his fellow Sabers know they have a tough road to hoe in the impossibly deep WIAA sectional tournament they will be competing in at Hart Park in Wauwatosa on Thursday, May 29, with defending state champion Marquette and fellow state powers Nicolet and Whitefish Bay also involved.

So Gumina and the Sabers are relishing all the great things that happened during the regular season, especially what happened on May 22, as Franklin, led by Gumina's championship at first singles, claimed four flight titles and earned their third straight Southeast Conference team championship.

"The sectional will really be a struggle for us," Gumina said, "so the conference was our last chance to come away with an actual team title. We were glad to get it done."

Gumina has had a hand in all three of these league crowns, having played at four singles as a sophomore, second singles last season as a junior and now first singles as a senior. His older brother, Manny, was part of the previous two champions, as both have been playing tennis since they were 4 or 5 years old.

"My mom's a huge tennis player, my dad plays too and so do my grandparents," Jack said. "It's a real family thing with us."

And it has paid huge dividends for the Franklin tennis program.

The Sabers took part in WIAA sub-sectional play Tuesday, May 27, and then will send those qualifiers over to the sectional Thursday, May 29, at Hart Park in Wauwatosa.

The first four finishers in flight one of singles and doubles and the the winners of flight two in singles and doubles automatically qualify for the WIAA State Individual Tournament in Madison, June 5-7.

At the conference tournament, Jack Gumina's title was particular sweet and sweaty, as he led the Sabers to a 74-point total in the tournament, as Kenosha Indian Trail finished second with 66.

He defeated an Oak Creek opponent (6-2, 6-0) and then outlasted a Kenosha Tremper foe whom he had lost to during the regular season, 2-6, 6-3 (10-6 super tiebreaker).

Then in the final, he had to work even harder, beating an Indian Trail foe 2-6, 7-6 (10-5).

"It was good to see that I could come through in such close matches," Gumina said. "Those two tiebreaker matches were real struggles."

"Jack never quit; he gave it everything he had," said Sabers coach Gail Champion.

Another singles title went to Eric Vonderwell at the fourth spot, as he beat opponents from Tremper, 4-6, 6-0 (10-4), Racine Park, 6-1, 6-2, and then Indian Trail, 6-3, 4-6, (10-6).

"Eric's been so solid for us down there all season," Gumina said.

In doubles, the second team of Paul Rasmussen and Brandon Klein cruised to a flight title as they overpowered opponents from Racine Case (6-3, 6-0), Tremper (6-4, 6-3) and Racine Horlick (6-0, 6-3). At third doubles, Dan Bartels and Mike Trepainer were also champions, winning their crown with victories over pairs from Kenosha Bradford (6-0, 6-1) and Oak Creek (6-3, 6-4), as well as from Indian Trail 6-3, 2-6 (10-7).

Other places for the Sabers included Mitch Adam, third at second singles, Alex Henry, second at third singles, and the first doubles team of Ryan Larsen and Matthew Brandes taking fourth in their flight.

Champion was impressed with the team effort.

"Everyone on the team was aware that the point spread was close up to the end and kept their poise and competed to the best of their ability," she said. "I think our difficult tournament schedule helped us to prepare for the best competition we were to face at conference. The boys were ready for this challenge."

Gumina hopes the three straight SEC titles have helped the program earn some respect.

"I hope they help people see that we're one of the better teams out there," he said. "We've had a tough schedule (facing down state powers at the Manitowoc Invitational), and we've handled ourselves pretty well against teams like Marquette. We've become more competitive.

"It feels good to have this last conference title."

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