Will Tennison had a lot to navigate this season.

After an anticlimactic end to the 2018 season, Tennison came into this, his senior season at Verona, hoping to challenge for Big Eight Conference and WIAA Division 1 state individual titles.

He successfully made it through the Big Eight season, winning the conference title, and made it to the state tournament with an undefeated record and the No. 1 seeding.

How tough was that challenge? When the seedings for the state tournament field came out, three Big Eight players were ranked in the top six.

At state, Tennison lost a three-set semifinal to Green Bay Southwest senior Johnny Zakowski, who went on to win the Division 1 individual title. Tennison then beat Sun Prairie’s Aidan Schutter to finish third and wrap up a 27-1 season.

As a result, Tennison has been named the 2019 Wisconsin State Journal All-Area Player of the Year.

His state tournament performance didn’t lead to gold, but it was far more satisfying than last year’s. Tennison entered with the No. 1 seeding, but suffered an injury in the quarterfinal round and withdrew from the consolation matches.

“Coming off of last year, I knew there was still a lot of room for improvement,” Tennison said. “I worked hard to develop the physical part of my game, like fitness and strength.”

Also considered for the honor were juniors Kelby Mack and Noah Wankerl of Sauk Prairie (Division 2 doubles champions), senior Ryan Gold of Middleton and sophomore Alex Sviatoslavsky of Madison Edgewood.

Coach of the Year: Tony Mirasola took over as Middleton’s head coach this year and led the Cardinals through a tough Big Eight Conference season, where they won the dual-meet and conference tournament titles.

He also led Middleton to a sectional title and the semifinals of the WIAA Division 1 state team tournament, where they lost, 4-3, to eventual champion Milwaukee Marquette.

As a result, Mirasola has been named All-Area Coach of the Year.


WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL

2019 ALL-AREA BOYS TENNIS TEAMS

ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

Will Tennison, sr., Verona.

COACH OF THE YEAR

Tony Mirasola, Middleton: In his first year atop the Cardinals’ program, he led Middleton to the Badger Conference team championship and the semifinals of the WIAA Division 1 state team tournament, where they dropped a 4-3 decision to eventual champion Milwaukee Marquette in the semifinals. The Cardinals also had two fifth-place finishers (singles and doubles) at individual state.

FIRST TEAM

Singles

Ryan Gold, sr., Middleton: Finished fifth in the Division 1 state individual tournament after entering with the No. 3 seeding. Went on to win both of his No. 1 singles matches at team state to help the Big Eight Conference champion Cardinals advance to the semifinals and finish the season with a 27-7 record. Took third at No. 1 in the Big Eight tournament.

Aidan Schutter, sr., Sun Prairie: Upset Middleton’s Ryan Gold in a quarterfinal in the Division 1 state individual tournament and finished fourth overall to close a 29-9 season. Finished second in the Big Eight Conference tournament at No. 1.

Alex Sviatoslavsky, so., Madison Edgewood: Entered the Division 2 individual tournament seeded second and made that stand up, winning three matches before falling to top-seeded Pablo Dale of Brookfield Academy, 6-1, 6-0, in the singles final to end a 22-5 season. Took third in the Badger Conference tournament.

Will Tennison, sr., Verona: Beat Sun Prairie’s Aidan Schutter to finish third in the Division 1 state individual tournament, closing a 27-1 season. Entered the state tournament seeded No. 1 for the second consecutive season. The Marquette University recruit also beat Schutter in the Big Eight Conference No. 1 final.

Doubles

Kelby Mack, jr., and Noah Wankerl, jr., Sauk Prairie: Emerged from their No. 3 seeding to win the Division 2 championship with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Green Bay Notre Dame’s Josh Jansen and Christian Remington. Upset second-seeded William Schneider and Alan Schneider in a semifinal. Won the Badger Conference No. 1 title. Finished 17-1.

Sam Dettman, sr., and Brandon Bodak, sr., Middleton: Exceeded their seeding at Division 1 state, coming in ranked No. 6 but capturing fifth place. The pair also won both its matches at Division 1 team state the following week, leading the Cardinals to the semifinals and wrapping up a 30-5 season. Won the Big Eight Conference No. 1 title.

Caden Nelson, sr., and Jacob Munz, jr., Monona Grove: Entered Division 1 state with the No. 12 seeding but advanced to the quarterfinals before falling, and then dropping a consolation semifinal to finish a 31-4 season. Took second at No. 1 in the Badger Conference tournament.

SECOND TEAM

Singles

Tyler Nelson, fr., Waunakee: Earned the No. 9 seeding in the Division 1 individual state field, but lost in the second round to Madison La Follette’s Tyger Yang to wrap a 24-3 season. Won the Badger Conference No. 1 title.

Tyger Yang, so., Madison La Follette: Scored two victories at Division 1 individual state, including an upset of Waunakee’s ninth-seeded Tyler Nelson, to finish 24-12. Finished fourth at No. 1 in Big Eight tournament.

Carter Johnson, jr., McFarland: Fell in the first round at Division 2 state to East Troy’s Dayne Lindow and finish 19-5, after earlier beating Lindow to win the Rock Valley Conference No. 1 title.

Cole Lindwall, sr., Monona Grove: Won two matches at WIAA individual state before falling to Sun Prairie’s Aidan Schutter, closing a 20-8 season. Finished second at No. 1 in the Badger Conference tournament.

Doubles

Felix Beilin, sr., and Matthew Ruggiero, jr., Madison West: Finished second at No. 1 in the Big Eight Conference tournament, and then fell in the first round at Division 1 state to wind up a 21-11 season.

Max Christian, sr., and Shane Paradisin, jr., Waunakee: Fell in the second round at Division 1 state to close a 21-8 season. Took third at No. 1 singles in the Badger Conference tournament.

Alton Yan, sr., and Gene Kim, so., Middleton: Won the Big Eight Conference No. 2 doubles title, advanced to the second round at Division 1 state, and split two No. 2 doubles matches at team state to finish 26-4. Won the Big Eight title at No. 2 doubles.

HONORABLE MENTION

Singles

Josh Baldwin, jr., Sun Prairie (28-7)

Steven Benoy, so., Stoughton (17-11)

Chris Boll, sr., Madison Edgewood (21-2)

Kevin Fan, sr., Verona (17-7)

Chase Lindwall, so., Monona Grove (23-5)

Taren Nimmow, jr., Sauk Prairie (17-9)

Donovan Pfaff, so., Madison Edgewood (27-1)

Doubles

Chase Korb, so., and Gavin Maloney, so., Madison Edgewood (8-7)

Tyson Laux, sr., and Logan Snelling, jr., McFarland (13-5)

Bucky!

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Wisconsin State Journal prep sports editor Art Kabelowsky has traversed the state to cover sports while working for daily papers in Fort Atkinson, Racine, La Crosse, Milwaukee and Baraboo.