It was a bittersweet ending for South Whidbey boys tennis senior Ryan Wenzek.
For Wenzek’s teammates and fellow seniors Larsen Christiansen and Aengus Dubendorf, it was mostly bitter.
While Wenzek and his doubles partner Levi Buck were able to pull off a three-set senior day win over Coupeville on Monday afternoon, Christiansen and Dubendorf did not have the same magic; they lost to the Wolves’ Joey Lippo and Will Nelson in two sets, 7-5, 6-3.
“I’m pretty disappointed,” Christiansen said. “I had a pretty rough day. I didn’t do very well. Aengus played really well though.”
“I felt pretty good about how I played. I’m just kind of bummed out right now,” Dubendorf added.
South Whidbey won the match 3-2. Earning wins were Wenzek and Buck, doubles teams Cormac Workman and Michael Lux, Jadan White and Ben Borson, and singles player Joey Lane.
Though it was their final time playing at South Whidbey High School, Dubendorf and Christiansen’s careers are not over. They still have the class 1A Bi-District Tournament ahead of them on Oct. 20 at the Amy Yee Tennis Center in Seattle. The Falcons will vie for berths to the state tournament against the Emerald City League, which is considered to be one of the best in the state for consistently producing state placers.
Their goal is to place in the top five.
“State would be pretty cool,” Christiansen said. “I’m hoping for at least a top-five finish.”
Wenzek was without his usual doubles partner, senior Hank Papritz, who was out sick. He teamed up with Buck, a sophomore, who usually plays singles. It took some time for them to establish chemistry on the court, which they attributed to a 6-3 loss in the first set. They bounced back, however, with a 6-3 win in the second set. The third and final set went to a tiebreaker, which Wenzek and Buck won 10-7.
Wenzek said he was happy to have won, but sad to say goodbye to the home crowd.
“It’s a little sad realizing it’s the last time, which sucks,” Wenzek said. “But, I’m looking forward to districts.”
Buck said it felt good to help Wenzek earn a victory in his last home match. They learned only about an hour before the match that they’d be playing together, but they felt it was a good performance despite the short notice. The Falcons also only practiced twice this past week due to rainfall on the courts. They said it threw them out of sync.
“Not being able to practice over the weekend and coming out against good players is kind of a shock,” Buck said.
Buck will go back to playing as the Falcons’ top singles player when Papritz returns. He said he’s aiming for a top-five finish as well.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Buck said. “I’m going to have to play well.”
“I think it’ll be good experience to play first singles at bi-districts. I’m aiming for top five placing, but as long as I go out and try my best and know I gave it 110 percent, then I’m OK with anything.”
Wenzek said he has no regrets about his career as it’s nearing its conclusion, and is also aiming for a state berth with Papritz.
“I’m proud of it,” Wenzek said. “I know I worked hard. I know I played my best. It’s fun with all the guys.”