Tennis: Pioneer, Huron ready to take their rivalry to the highest court

Pioneer and Huron, the two tennis powerhouses, went head-to-head, toe-to-toe and racket-to-racket at the Regionals last week and both teams earned spots in this weekend’s Division 1 State Finals at the Greater Midland Tennis Center.    

It was quite a Regional on Oct. 10 at Pioneer High School. And even though there were eight teams in the tournament, Pioneer and Huron met in the finals of every match. And both teams sent their entire team to the state finals.

Huron finished second last year to Bloomfield Hills in the D-1 finals. The Pioneers finished sixth overall. The River Rats finished third in 2017 after winning it all in 2016.  

Let’s take a look at the state finals and where some of the local players ended up heading into the opening round.

At two singles, Pioneer’s Stanley Rhodes is the sixth seed and earned a first-round bye. Rhodes defeated Huron’s Andy Andrea in the Regional final 1-6, 6-4, 6-4.

In the three singles final at Regionals, Pioneer’s Isaac Herrenkohl defeated Huron’s Michael Shi 6-4, 6-2. Both are seeded high in the state finals lineup – Herrenkohl is the second seed while Shi is seeded third.

At four singles, Pioneer’s Noah Vogel is the first seed and he drew an opening-round bye. Vogel defeated Huron’s Derek Zhu 6-3, 6-2 in the Regional final. Zhu is the second seed and he too will get the first round off at states.

Huron’s No. 1 doubles team of Max Brodkey and Anvit Rao are seeded second at states after knocking off Pioneer’s Jack Aachibald and Sam Berkooz 6-2, 6-2 in the Regional.

Huron’s No. 2 doubles team of Nick Grosh and Tj Bai defeated Pioneer’s team of Aditya Abbaraju and Brendan Kersch 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-2 in the Regional final and earned a No. 1 seed at states. The Pioneer team is seeded second.

Huron and Pioneer also are one-two seeds in the states at three doubles. Huron’s team of Sammy Clyde and Jacob Hejazi defeated Pioneer’s team of Drake Malcolm and Evan Roopas 6-3, 6-4 at Regionals.   

In four doubles, Huron’s team of Nikhil Gandikota and Vincent Tremonti earned the top seed after knocking off Pioneer’s team of Shankrith Chandru and Corin Tang 7-6 (8), 6-4 in the Regional final. Pioneer is the third seed at states.    

At one singles, Huron’s Owen Kelley and Pioneer’s Niki Zakarian both qualified for the state finals. Kelley won the Regional 6-3, 6-2.