Griffith, Zheng lead Hubs tennis team at NIB-12 Championships

Seniors earn top-5 finishes in singles play

ROCKFORD — It took two days and one relocation to complete the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference Varsity Championships, but the Hubs varsity tennis team still managed to piece together some strong performances.

The championships began in Rochelle this past Saturday before moving to Rockford Boylan’s Indoor Tennis Center on Monday due to inclement weather. Senior Noah Griffith placed second at No. 1 singles for the Hubs, defeating LaSalle-Peru’s Connor Cofoid (6-0, 6-0) on Saturday and going ahead of Ottawa’s Jack Marvel before completing his match with Marvel on Monday, winning 6-1, 4-6, 10-6. Griffith fell to Sterling’s Dillon Nitz by a score of 3-6, 6-7 (5) in the championship match.

Senior Kevin Zheng finished fifth at No. 2 singles for Rochelle, falling in his opening match against Geneseo’s Griffen Tracey 0-6, 2-6 but bouncing back with a victory in the consolation semifinals against Ottawa’s Max Vargas by a score of 8-3. Zheng took down LaSalle-Peru’s Alex Newman 8-2 to seal his top-5 finish.

Junior Emilio Nava and junior Hector Garcia combined to take seventh at No. 1 doubles for the Hubs. Nava and Garcia lost in their opening match to Geneseo’s Brandon Gallagher and Mick Haverland 1-6, 1-6 before falling to LaSalle-Peru’s Jalen Depenbrock and Nate Newman 4-8. Nava and Garcia finished their tournament with a 9-7 win against Nolan Robbins and Oscar Segura from Morris.

Senior Jesus Nava and junior Diego Lopez placed eighth at No. 2 doubles, while senior Ozzy Fulgencio and junior Chris Jones also took eighth at No. 3 doubles. Nava and Lopez fell 0-6, 0-6 to Sterling’s Dawson Koett and Carter Gearing before forfeiting to Morris in the consolation semifinals and dropping their final match to LaSalle-Peru’s Mat Carmean and Abhi Patel by forfeit.

Jones and Fulgencio lost 1-6, 2-6 against Matt Grant and Brandon Weitzel before dropping their consolation semifinal match 2-8 to Chris Hartness and Andrue Heather of DeKalb. The Rochelle boys fell 5-8 against Blake Meyers and Luis Alfaro from Yorkville to finish eighth.

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