LAPORTE | Kankakee Valley's Luke Sanderson saw his freshman campaign end at the LaPorte regional. This year, he was determined not to let history repeat itself.
The sophomore added a regional championship to his growing legacy with a pair of hard-fought wins that earned him a place in the Elite Eight and a trip to Indianapolis next weekend.
"This is an incredible feeling," Sanderson said afterward. "It's hard to describe how excited I am right now. I feel like all of my hard work finally paid off."
Sanderson's work started in the semifinal round with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Jason Denton of Concord.
"That was a very tough match," Sanderson said. "Denton is a very good player. I never felt like I had a comfortable lead."
In the final round, Sanderson defeated Derek Hinen (Columbia City) 6-0, 6-0.
The victories ran Sanderson's high school record to 25-0 this year, and 46-1 overall.
"I feel like I have as much chance as anyone next weekend," Sanderson said. "There are usually quite a few seniors at this level, but I am confident in my abilities."
In the 22nd annual state doubles tournament, both local teams saw their season come to an end.
Hobart's Chris Moore and Jake Erlich lost to DeKalb's team 6-2, 6-2. Wheeler's tandem of Jordan Long and Lucas Jessen fell to Plymouth 7-5, 7-5.
"Chris and Jake had a great season together," Hobart coach Dave Cafmeyer said. "They are very athletic and learned to play very well as a team on the court.
"It was Jake's first season at tennis, and he did very well. This was Chris' best season at doubles. He played outstanding."
Moore and Erlich finished the year with a record of 12-6.
"Today's match was a great example of how their season went," Wheeler coach Mike Rosta said about Long and Jessen. "They played great tennis today. I was very proud of how they finished up in a strong season."
The Bearcats tandem went 14-3 on the year.