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home : sports : sports August 21, 2017

6/15/2017 3:44:00 PM
Gillach faces tough draw, finishes second in state consolation bracket

After finishing second in Section 7AA, Thomas Gillach knew he would get a section champion on his first round at the state tennis tournament.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t just any section champion he got. He drew Ben Van der sman of East Ridge, the top seed in the tourney and returning third place finisher from last year.

The senior made quick work of Gillach in the opening round, winning 6-0, 6-1. Van der sman just did not make mistakes against Gillach, but was still able to push the pace offensively, and it kept the Wildcat senior off balance throughout the game.

Gillach found out quickly, though, that he’d be advancing in the consolation bracket after losing his first match. Petro Alex of Mounds View was injured in his opening round match up and that left Gillach with a consolation bye, as that would have been his opponent.

In the semifinals of the consolation bracket, Gillach took it to John Webb of Edina. Webb had lose his opening match to fourth seeded Conner Olsen of Orono before beating Jonathan Nudler of Wayzata in the first round of consolation.

Gillach breezed past Webb 6-0, 6-0, showing his talent is good enough to hang with nearly all of the competitors at the state meet.

“Thomas turned a lot of heads in his match against Edina. That was the best I’ve seen him play, ever,” Head Coach Jon Pieper said. “He played as though he had a lot to prove and approached and attacked the net like a man on a mission, which is very uncharacteristic for most singles players.”

In the consolation files, Gillach drew junior Ben Wheaton, who had beaten Tanner Lundberg of Brainerd and Bjorn Swenson of Mounds View to earn his spot.

But, he couldn’t get back into rhythm in the finals. Wheaton was able to break Gillach early, and that put him in an early hole that he was never able to recover out of. Wheaton ended up winning 6-3, 6-2, ending Gillach’s run with a sixth place finish and finishing up his record-setting career as a Chisago Lakes tennis player. “He never found his groove versus Wheaton,” Pieper said. “But either way, he held is own against the best tennis players in the state.

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