Greenhills entered the Division 4 state finals this past weekend looking for their first title in the last three years. But no one was shedding a tear or throwing a racket worrying about the Gryphons, who have long been among the top tennis teams in the state.
Greenhills entered Saturday with nine titles in the last 11 years and added to the trophy case with a dominant performance at the Division 4 MHSAA tennis championship at Kalamazoo College. They finished with 38 points, 12 points better than second-place Traverse City St. Francis.
Let the celebration begin. And the senior co-captains helped lead the way.
“We knew we had a really good team going into this tournament, and we had some really good teams to face,” said senior co-captain Drake Rosenberg. “But we took every match one at a time and the tournament fell in our favor. It’s a really special feeling winning as a senior.”
Rosenberg teamed with Joey Formicola to reach the finals in two doubles.
Senior co-captain Trey Feldeisen partnered with Henry Branch to finish first overall at one doubles for the Gryphons.
“We had a great year,” said Feldeisen. “Thanks to coaches Eric Gajar and Mark Randolph, and all the parents who helped support the team. This was a great way to end my last tennis season.”
Junior Sahil Deenadayalu served up his first year with Greenhills after transferring from Huron and finished off a great season at one singles by reaching the finals on Saturday.
“It was a great weekend,” he said. “We all fought very hard. In the end we came on top which was a very special feeling.”
Deenadayalu fell behind early to Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett sophomore Will Cooksey in the championship match. Cooksey cruised to a 6-0 first-set lead in the final before squeaking out the second set 7-6 with a 7-2 tiebreak to win the flight.
Deenadayalu tipped his hat to Cooksey.
“Will came out strong in the first set, pushing me around from side to side,” Deenadayalu said. “I kept my cool and tried to keep up the level. After being down 0-2 in the second set, I knew my current play would not get me anywhere, so I switched it up. I started to play a lot more aggressive. I went for my serve a lot and moved better.
“I was able to get up a break, serving at 4-3. Will elevated his game, however, and got the break back. It was a hard fought math, but in the end he deserved it. He’s a great player and excellent competitor.”
Greenhills coach Eric Gajar was thrilled to win it all on Saturday.
“It was a great weekend that capped a special season for this team,” Gajar said. “With six one seeds and two two seeds, we really had nowhere to go but down. However, the boys were prepared and played their best on the final days of the season. We captured six of the eight flight championships when everyone held their seeds.”
The boys served up the most points Greenhills has ever scored as a team at the state tournament and was good for the program’s 12th championship.
“With Traverse City St. Francis and Allegan right on our heels after day one, it came down to a semi-final round which saw us win all eight matches,” Gajar said. “This created the separation we needed to win the state title. I was especially pleased for my four seniors who get to go out on top with a team championship, the first for three of them.”