Baluck Deang will go down in the history books at Edgewood as the first No. 1 singles player in program history to win a Division 2 state championship.
The talented junior outlasted top-seeded Sarah Gesner of The Prairie School 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-4 in the championship match Saturday, Oct. 19, at Nielsen Tennis Stadium in Madison.
“It’s really exciting to know that I’m the first one from Edgewood,” Deang said. “I’m speechless.”
Deang finished the season 33-4. Last year, she took fourth at state in No. 1 singles.
“I’m really proud of her,” Edgewood coach Kara Amundson said. “She always works hard in practice. We set some goals at the beginning of the year and she always had this in the back of her mind.”
The second-seeded Deang trailed 2-1 to start the decisive third set, but she bounced back by winning five straight games to capture the state crown.
“I had to be mentally strong and I told myself there were a lot of people that came to watch me play,” she said. “I just had to flip a switch and get my game face on.”
The 6-foot-1 Deang mixed powerful ground strokes with speedy serves and elite athleticism to come out on top.
“I think she had a lot of nerves because she wanted it so bad,” Amundson said. “She was just pretty tight. I went out and told her she had to trust in her game.”
The Regents qualified for the Division 1 team state tournament, and two singles players and the No. 1 doubles team advanced to the second day of the D1 individual state tournament.
Third-seeded West won three of the four singles matches in a 4-3 victory over Neenah in the team state quarterfinals Friday, Oct. 25, at Nielsen Tennis Stadium.
No. 1 singles player Maddi Bremel defeated Neenah’s Ava Dunsirn 6-2, 6-2. Abby Bremel outlasted Sophia Paape 6-3, 6-4 in No. 2 singles, and Abby Lin swept Olivia Heroux 6-0, 6-0 in No. 3 singles. The Regents’ No. 1 doubles team of Camille Vadas and Sophia Knigge defeated Ashlyn Brown and Alex Van Zeeland 6-1, 6-2.
West then lost to Muskego 5-2 in the semifinals Saturday, Oct. 26. Abby Bremel beat Michelle Pan 7-5, 6-1 in No. 2 singles, and Lucy Friedman edged Mia Barrett 6-3, 6-4 in No. 4 singles.
Vadas and Knigge reached the semifinals of the individual state doubles tournament Friday, Oct. 18, at Nielsen.
After a first-round bye Thursday, Oct. 17, Vadas and Knigge defeated Stevens Point’s Meghan De Bot and Anna Hlavac 6-1, 6-2. The West duo clipped Cedarburg’s Alex Andrae and Zoe Larson 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the semis.
Whitefish Bay’s Elena Deslongchamps and Katie Kavanagh defeated Vadas and Knigge 6-2, 1-6, 6-1. Vadas and Knigge (34-5) lost to Arrowhead’s Grace Cady and Hannah Cady in the fifth-place match 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.
The Bremel twins both reached the Round of 16.
Maddi Bremel (33-6) knocked off Whitnall’s Jenna Dundas 6-2, 6-3 in the first round. Dundas entered the state tournament 23-0.
Bremel cruised past New Berlin Eisenhower’s Cindy Bain 7-5, 6-0 in the second round, but lost to Muskego’s Elizabeth Sobieski 6-4, 6-3 in the third round.
Abby Bremel (32-7) breezed past Sheboygan North’s Louisa Damkot 6-0, 6-1 and Whitefish Bay’s Mia Hessel 6-3, 6-2 to reach the Round of 16. She lost to eventual state champion Jordan Schifano of Divine Savior Holy Angels 6-3, 6-0.
No. 1 singles player Meredith Conley closed out her illustrious prep career with a run to the Round of 16 at the Division 1 individual state tournament.
Whitnall junior Autumn Bruno defeated Conley 7-5, 6-1 on Friday, Oct. 18. Conley finished the season 26-4. It’s the furthest Conley, a four-time state qualifier, advanced at state.
Bruno (24-3) went on to finish sixth at state. Verona coach Mark Happel was excited to see Conley make it to the second day of competition.
“Meredith played great tennis, but just came up on the short end,” Happel said. “The other girl just played phenomenal. She (Bruno) hits with a lot of pace, has all the shots, a great serve and ground strokes. Meredith did what she wanted to do. The Whitnall girl had an answer. There is a better player out there sometimes.”
Conley earned all-state honors by making it to the Round of 16. She breezed by Whitefish Bay junior Olivia Eckes 6-3, 6-1 in the first round, and picked opportune times to attack the net and put away winners in a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Beaver Dam senior Morgan Nelson in the second round.
Verona’s No. 1 doubles team of seniors Sydney Breitbach and Kasie Keyes (18-15) were special qualifiers at state, but lost to Oconomowoc’s Sarah Kopfer and Aubrey Berther 6-1, 6-1 in the first round.