Madison West girls tennis coach Ryan Reischel has been with the Regents for just two seasons, but he has been mentoring teams in the area for close to 20 years.
Immediately, he knew he had something special when he got to West and noticed the Regents’ twin 5-foot-1 powerhouses, Maddi Bremel and Abby Bremel.
“They’re easily the most talented singles players I’ve coached. Going to practice is a joy every single day,” he said.
The pair, playing first and second singles, respectively, led the Regents to an unbeaten Big Eight Conference season as well as the team title in the league tournament.
They have good athletic genes. Their father, Mike, rowed for the University of Wisconsin; their mother, Tasha, played soccer for UW-Milwaukee.
“The whole family is athletic,” Maddi Bremel said. “All the cousins and uncles do one sport or another.”
The twins followed Mom onto the pitch as midfielders for the West soccer team. They started tennis at age 8, graduating to the USTA circuit a year later.
In 2017, as freshmen at West, they made a big impression as Maddi earned the No. 2 singles spot and Abby paired with then-senior Laura Nicholas to earn third place in WIAA state doubles. The Regents also made team state that season, advancing to the semifinals.
Last season, the two earned their current team positions, and both made state in singles. Maddi (who had a 30-8 record) advanced to the round of 16; Abby (31-6) won a match.
If anything, Reischel said, they have only gotten better since then.
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“Maddi really has some nice power, and in the last couple of years she has come to attack the ball more,” the coach said. “She has really diversified her game, and that has resulted in fewer errors.”
Meanwhile, Abby has developed the consistency of a human backboard, Reischel said.
“Last year, she had a rally that lasted 30 shots,” he said. “She has power, too, but she still really likes to go after the ball. She will also come to the net more, and now, opponents don’t have a good plan of attack when they face her.”
The duo pace a talented team, tempered by what Reischel called a schedule he set up to be “as hard as humanly possible.” The Regents enter tournament play ranked No. 4 in Division 1 in the state coaches' poll.
“It’s super to have that level of competition, because it really makes you better,” Abby Bremel said. “But it can be a little tiring.”
That’s because the Regents are aiming high, Reischel said.
“The goal is to take care of business,” he said. “Win conference, and sectional seeding will take care of itself. If we live up to our seedings, things should fall into place.”
“We’d like to get back (to team state),” said Abby Bremel, “and we need to be playing our best tennis so we can get the best result.”
Which, in Maddi’s view, should come to an end on Oct. 26 in the state team championship dual.
“If we’re playing like we can,” she said. “We can make it to Saturday (finals).”