Fowlerville’s numbers make it difficult for the Gladiators to compete against Hartland and Howell in most high school sports, but not on the tennis court.
Tennis is a sport that’s taken seriously at Fowlerville, even though nearly every player is a multi-sport athlete who took up tennis in middle school or high school.
Take Mason Munsell, for instance.
Munsell played soccer as a freshman, picking up a racquet for the first time as a 10th-grader and playing on the junior varsity for Fowlerville. He played No. 3 singles on the varsity last year before earning the No. 1 singles position this season.
Munsell won the top singles flight in the Livingston County quad Saturday at Hartland, helping the Gladiators win by a 21-19 margin over Hartland. Pinckney scored five points and Howell two.
“He just dedicated himself all winter long to do clinics,” Fowlerville coach Jim Jonas said. “At Court One (Athletic Club in Okemos), there’s a pro who does clinics for schools. She did four different clinics. He was there at every one. He spent 20 weeks playing tennis in the offseason. This summer, he was really dedicated.”
Munsell showed his improvement by beating a Hartland opponent who beat him in his first varsity match last year.
It’s the second year the same four schools have met for a county quad. Fowlerville has won both times, with Hartland finishing second.
Fowlerville (enrollment of 829) has fewer than half the students as Howell (2,168) and Hartland (1,825). Pinckney has 705.
“In tennis, the size of the school isn’t as big a deal as it would be in football or basketball,” Jonas said. “The thing about this team is they’ve spent the whole summer on tennis courts. These kids have really worked hard. We have seven kids back from a year ago. Those seven kids are playing the top four singles, all the one doubles and half the two doubles.”
Jonas also coaches the varsity boys’ basketball teams. He has some of the same athletes in both sports.
“In the summer, we’d do tennis from 8 to 10 and basketball from 10:30 to 12:30,” Jonas said. “We’d just stay up at courts. We’d go from the tennis court to the basketball court. There’s a whole bunch of baseball players on the team, some track guys, a lot of multi-sport athletes.”
Also winning singles flights for Fowlerville were Cole Sova at No. 2 and Ryder Lukasik at No. 3. Ethan Way was the runner-up at No. 4.
Lukasik won a pivotal match against Hartland that allowed Fowlerville to win the team title. Down 9-4 in the tie-breaker set, he rallied to win 11-9.
“That was huge,” Jonas said. “We kind of figured at the time it was going to be a big match; we didn’t realize it was that big of a match.”
Winning doubles championships for the Gladiators were Oliver Farmer and Ben Durbin at No. 1 and Matt Jeffrey and Drake Cook at No. 3. Grant Wilkinson and Lon Pringle (No. 2) and Preston Browne and Christian Orr (No. 4) took second.
The only county team that wasn’t in the quad was Brighton, which will host Fowlerville in a scrimmage at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Laingsburg Early Burg Invitational
Fowlerville’s girls were sixth out of seven teams, but had two sophomore runners in the top 13. Delaney Richardson was 10th in 22:33.4 and Maria Beach was 13th in 22:51.9.
In the boys’ meet, Fowlerville was fourth. Lucas Moore was 13th in 18:07.0 to lead the Gladiators.
Ann Arbor Huron 1, Brighton 0
Huron scored on a free kick with 15 minutes left in the first half. Charlie Burchfield played in net in the second half for Brighton (2-1), stopping a penalty kick among his six saves.
Milan 8, Pinckney 0
The Pirates (1-2) were shut out for the second straight game.
Contact Bill Khan at email@example.com. Follow him on X @BillKhan.
This article originally appeared on Livingston Daily: Fowlerville knocks off big boys to win Livingston County tennis quad