Crusaders make history!

Originally posted by The Waukesha Freeman…

MADISON — Waukesha County saw two more state champions crowned at the WIAA Boys Tennis Individual State Championships at Nielsen Stadium in Madison on Saturday.

In Division 2, Brookfield Academy senior Adrian Yin saw off Notre Dame Academy sophomore Alex Thomas in the singles final, and Catholic Memorial’s Nate Carson and Finn Milleman took the doubles title over Notre Dame Academy’s Aiden Burich and Matt Gugluizza.

“I just wanted it really bad,” Yin said. “This is my third state final and it would be really hard to go back with another second place.”

“It feels pretty good,” Milleman said. “Especially with this guy (Carson) being a senior, to send him off with a championship is really amazing.”

Just as in the Division 1 singles final, Yin’s match against Thomas was a back-and-forth affair. Yin took the first set 6-4, but in the second set he was hit with a leg cramp.

“I was cramping really, really bad there in the end,” Yin said. “I had to push through. I took some desperate measures in the end but just used what I could to battle through.”

It wasn’t enough, though, as Yin lost the second set 6-4, sending the match to a tiebreaker.

In keeping with the back-andforth theme of the match, neither player was willing to give an inch in the tiebreaker. Yin used some fantastic shots and capitalized on Thomas’ few mistakes to claim that elusive state title.

“I couldn’t have done it without my team, without my coaches, without my friends and without my family,” Yin said. “It feels really good to tough it out, dealing with so many difficulties. I didn’t start off the season very well, but working with my friends and family and persevering through it.”

“To see all the work he’s put in, the commitment he’s put into our team and our teammates, to see Adrian play well and how he wanted to was really, really good,” Brookfield Academy coach Michael Rajchel said. “Late in the second set, he started cramping. We tried to get him to take mustard because apparently, mustard is an instant reliever of cramps. But he’s not a mustard guy.”

Carson and Milleman barrelled through every opponent they faced en route to Saturday’s final. In the semifinals, the CMH duo lost just two games in a straight-set victory over St. Mary Catholic’s Grant Bergstrom and Wesley Auth.

The final match against Notre Dame Academy’s Matt Gugluizza and Aidan Burich proved a much tougher test than anything the Crusaders pair had faced. In the first set, Gugluizza and Burich came out hot, but towards the end of the first set, Carson and Milleman turned the energy up. The CMH duo won the last game of the set and sent it to a tiebreaker.

“In practice, we do a lot of tiebreaks,” Carson said. “I was just thinking back to what we did in practice, back to the basics. We have these pillars at CMH tennis — focus, faith, fun and finish. I think we finished pretty well.”

“I’ve been in a lot of match tiebreaks,” Milleman said. “After a while, you kind of get that ‘been there, done that’ mentality. You just have to rely on those skills you’ve developed and what you’ve worked on in practice and carry it over to the match. That’s what we did.”

Carson and Milleman’s energy from the end of the first set continued into the second, and they used some brilliant shots and great work at the net to finish off the match, winning the final set 6-4 and claiming a state title.

“It was a great day for CMH tennis, that’s for sure,” CMH coach Chris Benyousky said. “Any time you’re playing on Day 3 and able to jump on a podium, it’s a great day.

“These guys really played a smart tournament. They were super solid all year long and then brought it up another level here at the state tournament. We are super proud of the way these guys stuck together and played their best tennis at the end of the season.”

Carson and Milleman’s state title was the first by any Crusaders player (boys or girls) since 2014.

Carson and Milleman weren’t the only CMH players to make the podium. Senior singles player Hayden Latus finished fifth, defeating his compatriot, freshman Oliver Milleman, in another tiebreaker. Although Milleman fell to Latus in the fifth-place match, he still received the final medal spot in sixth.