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Before the girls tennis season began, DeForest freshman Samantha Fuchs entered her thoughts and dreams into the journal she keeps.

Most of all, she wanted to earn a place in the WIAA Division 1 state individual tournament.

“It was my goal,” the 14-year-old Fuchs said.

She accomplished that goal during Thursday’s Waunakee sectional at Nielsen Tennis Stadium.

And she won’t be going alone. Her sister, sophomore Cecile Fuchs (pronounced Fox), made it a family affair.

Cecile won the No. 1 singles title after Samantha claimed the No. 2 singles crown — and the automatic state berth that goes with it.

“We both wanted to go,” said the 15-year-old Cecile Fuchs, who will join her sister in the individual state tournament Oct. 12-14 at Nielsen. “It’s pretty cool that we both made it.”

Like the Fuchs sisters, Madison West also had that winning feeling after taking top spots in three flights and earning the sectional team title.

The Regents finished first with 43 points, ahead of runner-up Onalaska (28) and Middleton (26). West, ranked third in the state coaches’ poll, will advance for the second consecutive year to the WIAA Division 1 state team tournament, set for Oct. 20-21 at Nielsen.

In the No. 1 singles final, Cecile Fuchs (33-2) came away with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Verona sophomore Meredith Conley (22-6). After Fuchs won her opening match and moved on to the semifinals, she said she felt more relaxed — because the top four sectional finishers in No. 1 singles and doubles earn guaranteed state berths.

“I just kind of played once I made it to state,” said Fuchs, who defeated Madison West senior Ellie Kaji, 6-2, 6-1, in a semifinal. “There was less pressure.”

Kaji and Onalaska sophomore Faith Leithold also advanced to state, with Kaji claiming their third-place match, 6-4, 7-5.

Meanwhile, Samantha Fuchs (34-1) realized that only the champions at No. 2 singles and No. 2 doubles receive automatic state berths. She rallied from a 5-3 deficit in the third set against Madison Memorial sophomore Grace Olson (26-3) and secured a 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 victory in the No. 2 singles final.

“I just changed my attitude,” Fuchs said. “My confidence built and I played very well. I tried to out-hit her. She was playing really well. I think I took over when I kept the ball in play better.

“The first set I played very well. I powered the points. The second set she became better and got more balls in. If I was going to make it to state, I knew I had to pull it together in the third set to qualify.”

Madison West senior Nyah Banik was the No. 4 singles winner, defeating Waunakee senior Courtney Pagnucci 6-4, 6-2 — helping the deep Regents earn the sectional title.

“The girls did a lot of the work on Tuesday (at the subsectional),” Regents coach Kyle Goodman said. “It was a little more relaxed today (than at sectionals a year ago), as long as they took care of business. They did, and it saved my heart. … To win three flights was amazing. That is more than we projected.”

The No. 1 doubles team of Laura Nicholas and Abby Bremel, along with the No. 3 doubles duo of Olivia O’Dea and Anna Grutzner, also brought home titles for West. Nicholas and Bremel scored a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Middleton’s Michelle Chi and Maddie Clark in the final.

“We knew Maddie and Michelle were our hardest competition,” Nicholas said. “I think we were a little nervous. Once we got pumped up, we were playing really well.”

Madison Memorial juniors Devika Kamath and Anna Hubbard took a 7-5, 7-6 (4) victory over Onalaska’s Lauren Garves and Chloe Leithold in the third-place match at No. 1 doubles, as both those pairs also advanced to state.

The Middleton team of Noor Rajpal and Jessica Pientka claimed the No. 2 doubles title and a state berth, defeating Madison West’s Katie Goetz and Camille Vadas in the final, 6-4, 6-2.

Madison Memorial sophomore Julia Zhou went through subsectionals and sectionals without losing a game (in 48 games) and took the No. 3 singles title, topping Madison West junior Spencer Harrison in the final.

Oshkosh West sectional

Beaver Dam sophomore Morgan Nelson (25-5) earned a state berth in singles, along with the doubles pair of senior Ashley Saniter and sophomore Abby Kiesow (17-10). Both finished fourth in No. 1 flights.

Neenah earned the team championship, sweeping six of seven flight championships. Beaver Dam finished third.


Jon Masson covers high school sports for the Wisconsin State Journal. He has covered a variety of sports — including the Green Bay Packers and Wisconsin men's and women's basketball and volleyball — since he first came to the State Journal in 1999.