ALTON - Jerseyville's Travis Blair was the overall men's open champion in the Alton Closed Tennis Tournament held this past week at Alton High School and Lewis and Clark Community College.
Champions were crowned in five events of the Alton Closed Tourney. Blair defeated Bram Blackwell 8-5 to capture the men’s open championship. Blair and Blackwell defeated Marquette Catholic graduates in the semifinals to set up the finals match.
Blair was victorious over Joe Segneri and Blackwell defeated Peter Wendle. It was an all Marquette Catholic final in the boys under 18 championship match. State qualifier Daniel McCluskey brought home the title with an 8-3 win over Peter Wendle.
Marquette advanced four players to the final four in under 18, as Joe Segneri and Nathan Walters fell in the semifinals.
Tournament director Jesse Macias said: “Marquette had a great showing. They were all over the place in the men’s open and under 18 divisions, they have some good players.”
In girls play, Abby Fischer defended her city championship by defeating Hannah Macias in the girls’ under 18 championship, 8-5. Makayla Cox and Morgan Butler finished third and fourth in the division. Macias bounced back to win the under 16 championship, defeating teammate Ainsley Fortschneider 8-0 in the finals.
Macias advanced by winning an exciting semifinal match over Redbird sophomore Maddie Saenz. Jesse Macias said: “We have a lot of good girls tennis players in our area. The quarter finals and on were all good matches and fun to watch.”
In the men’s over 40 division, John Higdon won in dominating fashion 8-2 over Kevin Rowland.
Jesse Macias said the warm and stormy weather had an impact on our tournament, but overall things ran extremely well.
"We had to push back the finals to Thursday instead of Wednesday and the humidity was challenging for everyone," he said. "But players were smart and stayed hydrated and they had plenty of breaks. I can’t say enough about the under 18 boys.
"Some of them played four matches Tuesday evening and they never complained. They just come out here with great attitudes and just play for the love of the game. As a coach, I really appreciate seeing that on the court. For our champions, Abby and Hannah have won this tournament before and it is nice to see their hard work and dedication pay off.
"It was the first championship for Travis, Daniel, and John. Travis and Daniel both had to grind to win the two most competitive divisions, their medals were well earned. I was really happy for John Higdon too. John and his family are always at the courts and he is very passionate about the game, so I know the win was special for him.”
The doubles portion of the Alton Closed take place on June 27-29 at Alton High and Lewis and Clark Community College and registration runs through June 25.