West Genesee boys tennis players (from left) Brent Boleslav, Connor Smith and Alex Fox won berths in the state championship tournament during the Section III state qualifier – Boleslav by winning the singles tournament, Smith and Fox by taking third place in doubles.
Having already fulfilled one dream by winning its first-ever Section III Class A championship, the West Genesee boys tennis team now wanted to see its full complement of top players make it to the state tournament.
And though it did not quite work out that way, three Wildcats – Brent Boleslav in singles, Alex Fox and Connor Smith and doubles – did earn spots on the Section III team that would travel to the USTA-Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens for the biggest matches of the spring.
After a first-round bye in the state qualifier that got underway May 22 at Mott Courts in Utica, Brent Boleslav had little trouble in his opening-round match, beating Vernon-Verona-Sherrill’s Eric Day 6-0, 6-2.
Then, when Boleslav beat Vishnu Kakuturi (New Hartford) 6-1, 6-0 in the quarterfinals, he simply had to get past Fayetteville-Manlius’ Josh Druger in the semifinals to secure a state tournament berth, and he did so with ease, handling Druger 6-2, 6-3.
Back in the quarterfinals, Druger had prevented an all-Wildcats match-up by beating Connor McGuigan 6-0, 6-2, this following McGuigan’s 7-5, 6-2 opening-round conquest of VVS’s Sam Min.
A day later, Brent Boleslav was in the tournament final against Manlius-Pebble Hill’s Andrew Mariados, who had beaten Garrett Boleslav 6-2, 6-2 in the quarterfinals after Brent got a 6-0, 6-2 win over Hamilton’s Nick Stefansen in the opening round.
Perhaps seeking payback for his brother’s defeat, Brent Boleslav got it, taking just two sets to beat Mariados 6-4, 6-3. Meanwhile, in an epic consolation bracket final, Druger survived a first-set deficit and 14-12 second set tie-breaker to beat Cazenovia’s Nate Romig 4-6, 7-6, 7-5 and join Boleslav and Mariados in the state tournament.
Meanwhile, Fox and Smith made their own run in doubles, as they beat Robert Dotterer and Rahul Raina (Jamesville-DeWitt) 6-2, 7-5 in the first round and then topped Justin Frechette and An Le (Watertown IHC) 6-2, 6-0 in the quarterfinals.
East Syracuse-Minoa’s duo of Brandon Stone and Tyler Underwood beat Fox and Smith 6-0, 6-1 in the semifinals, so they had to beat F-M’s Mike Mintskovsky and Brooks Nagle to get a state tournament berth.
Under the biggest pressure they had faced all spring, Fox and Smith were up to the challenge, defeating Mintskovsky and Nagle 6-4, 6-1. Thus, they joined Stone, Underwood and F-M’s tandem of Dan Miron and Nick Westergaard on their way to New York City.