Huntley doubles team clinches historic state trip

ALGONQUIN – Huntley’s Matt Frederick and Jake Grabner won their first set and were up 3-1 in the second in their state qualifying quarterfinal doubles match at the Jacobs Sectional, but Red Raiders’ coach Barry Wells did not think it was over yet.

Frederick and Grabner, the No. 2 seed, would go on defeat South Elgin’s Arsh Salwan and Kevin Lee, 6-2, 6-1, to become the first Huntley players to qualify for state in school history.

“We earned the seed but then we’ve got to earn our spot at state,” Wells said. “You just never want to get too excited before it’s done.”

The top four place winners in singles and doubles qualify for the state finals beginning Thursday at s

Frederick said they were aware of the historical nature of the match.

“We wanted to be the first,” Frederick said. “It’s crazy.”

Grabner and Frederick are in their second year of doubles together and that chemistry is a big part of their success.

“I think we definitely work together well,” Grabner said. “We know each other’s tendencies and we try and pick each other up.

Jacobs took advantage of its home courts and qualified all of its players for state. Kailash Panchapakesan and Kendrick Chong, both sophomores, will make their second trip to state after advancing to the semifinals, which will be played on Saturday.

In doubles, Matt Toomire and Riley Rowan, along with Will Liby and Kyle Powell, will all play at state for the first time.

As the No. 6 seed, Liby and Powell, the Golden Eagles’ No. 2 doubles team were the only players to qualify for state that weren’t a top-four seed. They defeated Hampshire’s Jake Dahlberg and Chad West, who qualified for state last year, 6-3, 6-3, in the quarterfinals.

“That was the best I’ve seen Willy and KP play,” Jacobs’ coach Jon Betts said. “They were peaking at the right time.”

Liby said he didn’t have a lot of confidence heading into the quarterfinals against Dahlberg and West.

“When Coach (Betts) said we were going against first dubs I thought we were going to lose,” Liby said.

Also qualifying in singles was Hampshire’s Elisha Hougland and South Elgin’s Andre Norasith. Chong will face Norasith in one semifinal and Hougland, in a rematch of the Fox Valley Conference Tournament final, will play Panchapakesan.

Dundee-Crown’s Brad Spangenberg and Chad Wagner also qualified in doubles, Wagner for the first time. Both moved to doubles after playing singles last season.

“Last year we played singles out of our own selfish ambition,” Wagner said. “I trained to be a doubles player in the offseason.”

Spangenberg, who qualified in doubles two years ago, said it’s a different experience qualifying as a senior.

“When I was a sophomore I was a little oblivious to what was going on,” Spangenberg said. “When we won the qualifying match I didn’t even know we were going to state."

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