HANOVER PARK – At one point, Jacobs’ Kerwin Chong lost a point and rested his arms on the net. A smile flashed across his face.
“Sometimes you run into someone that just is on that day,” Jacobs coach Jon Betts said.
Chong ran into Streamwood’s Christopher Veltkamp, who beat Chong, 6-1, 6-1, in the Class 2A Huntley Sectional singles championship match.
Even so, Chong can keep smiling because he’s heading back to state, and a few of his teammates will join him. Jacobs qualified two singles players and a doubles pair. Joining Chong in singles will be teammate Kyle Burton, who took third at the sectional.
The doubles portion of the sectional isn’t complete, but the semifinals are set for 2 p.m. Monday at Huntley. All four doubles pairs still alive have qualified for state by reaching the semifinals, including Jacobs’ Matt Kastritis and Winston Yau.
Also qualifying was the Huntley doubles pair of Jack Soderwall and Jacob Wat.
Saturday’s action was moved to Centre Court Athletic Club because of the rainy conditions. That suited Chong and his championship opponent, Veltkamp. The two train there together with coach Gus Fernandes.
“It’s a whole lot different in practice than in an actual match,” Chong said of facing Veltkamp. “He’s been playing really well against me. I’m really proud of him for going this far.”
Chong, a junior, qualified for state for the third time, his first in singles. The past two years he was paired with his brother, Kendrick Chong, in doubles.
“That feels great as a singles player,” Kerwin Chong said. “To do it without my brother, not relying on him, just saying that I got to state as myself.
“I played well today. I wasn’t nervous, I’m usually nervous for a match.”
Veltkamp knocked out Burton in the semifinals, 6-2, 6-0. Burton, a sophomore, qualified in doubles last year with Kastritis.
“I’ve been playing a lot better since the beginning of the season,” Burton said. “My serve definitely improved. I was able to pick up a bunch of points with my serve.”
Betts said the Golden Eagles coaches were really impressed with Burton’s performance Saturday.
Kastritis and Yau beat Huntley’s Charlie Burian and Trey Coleman in the quarterfinal, 6-4, 6-4, to qualify for state. For Yau, a senior, it was his first time qualifying. The pair will take on South Elgin’s Ben Holmes and Taylor Phengsomphone in Monday’s sectional semifinal.
In another doubles quarterfinal, with a state finals berth on the line, Huntley’s Soderwall and Wat defeated Hampshire’s Aldren Briones and Kohlman Steuber, 6-1, 7-6. Wat qualified last year in doubles. For Soderwall, will be his first state finals appearance.
The two won a hard-fought second set against the Hampshire duo.
“We wanted to get it over in two because the last time we played them we didn’t play our best match, and we had to go to three (sets),” Soderwall said.
They will face South Elgin’s Chad Mogan and Raj Patel in the sectional semifinals.
Jacobs’ other doubles pair of Jacob Moser and Jakub Sobkowicz fell one loss short of state, as did Hampshire’s Alex Patthana and Blake Snider.
“We had some great play, got a few guys to advance,” Betts said. “Overall it was a great day.”
Jacobs, jr., singles
Chong reached the singles sectional championship match, where he lost to Streamwood’s Christopher Veltkamp.
3: Jacobs qualified three individuals/doubles pairs for state: Chong in singles, Kyle Burton in singles and Matt Kastritis and Winston Yau as a doubles pair.
AND ANOTHER THING …
Of the six local athletes who qualified for state from the Huntley Sectional, two are first-time state qualifiers: Jacobs senior Yau and Huntley junior Jack Soderwall.
Local state qualifiers
Kerwin Chong, Jacobs, singles
Kyle Burton, Jacobs singles
Matt Kastritis and Winston Yau, Jacobs, doubles
Jack Soderwall and Jacob Wat, Huntley, doubles