(By Jason Schmitt For MediaNews Group)
It's been a process for the Oxford boys tennis team. And coach Ryan Ruzziconi and his team surely has trusted in that process. On Friday, it all paid off as the Wildcats captured the program's first league championship, topping the field at the OAA Blue Tournament in Farmington Hills. Oxford sent seven of eight flights to the championship round, winning four flights to finish with 42 points. That bested both host Farmington and Auburn Hills Avondale, who shared second place with 37 points each. "The semifinals I thought were going to be key," Ruzziconi said. "If we could work our way through that round, we'd be in good shape. And it played out that way. Every point matters in a tournament like this."
The Wildcats nearly swept the doubles, winning at Nos. 1-3-4. Leading the way were brothers Dane and Silas VonAllmen, who outlasted Avondale's Jack Youngs and Sid Saravanan in three sets, 2-6, 7-6 (1), 6-2. Also winning flight championships were Gabe Smith and Chase Maier at 2-doubles and Zack Buchanan and Avery VonAllmen at 4-doubles. Neither flight dropped a set all day.
"We've had strong doubles all year," said Ruzziconi, whose third doubles team of Nolan Kuchey and Alex Robb finished runner-up. "Those guys have played with each other most of the season, and it showed today. I figured that's where our strength would come from." Three Wildcats reached the finals in singles as well, with Cameron Mumbrue winning at No. 4.
For Oxford, the league title was the school's first. The boys program is in just its fourth year. "These guys have had a chance to work their way up together, grow together," said Ruzziconi, who has six seniors on this year's team. "To see these kids all hanging out with the trophies and getting pictures taken afterwards, it was great. Remembering back four years ago, when they were all five feet tall, to see them do this has been fantastic."
- Wed, Sept 25 @ Almont – Won 1-0
- Thursday, Sept 26 @ Lake Orion – Lost 7-3
- Monday, Sept 30 (we actually played Tuesday, October 1 due to rain) Ferndale @OHS – Won 2-0