Perrysburg senior Troy Weider returns a shot against Southview’s Cody Wurzelbacher while winning the NLL’s No. 1 singles final. THE BLADE/ANDY MORRISON
While there was guaranteed to be a new singles champion Wednesday at the Northern Lakes League tennis tournament at Jermain Park, but the team title also was up for grabs.
Both titles remained with the same schools as Southview repeated as team champion and Perrysburg’s Troy Weider won the No. 1 singles crown.
The Cougars, who went 7-0 in dual meets, won four of the five championship finals to cruise past the Yellow Jackets.
Weider, a senior, held off a strong challenge from Springfield sophomore Cody Wurzelbacher to win 6-0, 6-4. Weider succeeds former teammate Jeffrey Schorsch, who won four straight titles in his career.
Weider pushed his NLL singles record to 10-0 this year and finished his career 35-0 in the league. He won at No. 3 singles as a sophomore, then took the No. 2 singles as a junior.
“This feels really good,” Weider said. “My goal was to win this tournament. My goal was to go my whole career without losing a singles match.”
Southview entered the finals needing to win four of its five matches to defend its crown. The Cougars squared off head-to-head with Perrysburg in three championship matches and won them all.
“We try to keep their focus in the right places and not staring at each others' matches,” Southview coach A.J. Szozda said. “We try to get them to focus on their game plan and executing their shots. I was impressed with the kids' ability to handle the pressure. There was a lot riding on it. We had our backs to the wall and had to play perfect and luckily we did.”
Southview's Michael Burchfield swept Nick Buhk 6-0, 6-0 to win the No. 2 singles title. At No. 3 singles, the Cougars' Nathan Podolsky knocked off Justin Weider 6-0, 6-2.
Southview won at No. 2 doubles where Yuran Chen and Shaleen Goel defeated Konnor Masell and Thomas Walbom 6-4 and 6-0.
Southview clinched the title when partners Jason Bigler and Matt Rothschild defeated Perrysburg's Mitchell Skotynsky and Austin Riffer 6-7, 6-3, 6-2 at No. 1 doubles.
“Looking around the other courts you could see we were doing well,” Bigler said. “It's easy to stay focused when it's an important match like this. This felt great because we've been working really hard for this.”
“We just went at it the same way we have gone at it all season,” Rothschild said. “It's amazing.”
The Cougars' M.J. Haidar knocked off Northview's Elliot Beak 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 in the consolation finals at No. 1 singles.
The Cougars posted 63 tournament points to top runner-up Perrysburg (54). Southview claimed the overall NLL title with 38 team points, earning 14 of those with their seven league match victories, and 24 more for taking first in the tourney.
Perrysburg was second with 33 points (12 dual and 21 tournament) followed by Springfield (28) and Northview (21).
Perrysburg had players in all five championship matches and needed to win three of the five to secure the team win.
“It just wasn't our day today,” said Yellow Jackets coach Mark Weider, Troy’s father. “But we like to compete and we will have our day again.”
In the top singles final, Weider did not lose a game in the first set, but Wurzelbacher made him work hard in the second, taking leads of 2-1 and 4-3. Weider broke Wurzlebacher's serve to go up 5-4 then served out the final game.
“He was tough,” Weider said. “We play similar games and we were going from the baseline. He fought. My hand was cramping at the end. I told myself I wasn't going to lose.”
Wurzelbacher also was runner-up last year.
“Cody is an up and comer,” coach Weider said. “He will rule the roost for the next couple of years.”
Until last year, Southview had not won a title since 1999.
“The kids worked early hard in the offseason,” Szozda said. “It certainly helped momentum overall when you have a couple guys [win] early. That helped.”