Tie keeps Morton boys tennis on top

Bryan Veginski
Morton senior Taylor Nave makes a return Friday during his No. 2 singles semifinal match against higher-seeded Timmy Latronico of Pekin. Nave's second-place result in the bracket at the Mid-Illini Conference boys tennis tournament helped the Potters capture their first league championship in seven years.

Morton is on top of the Mid-Illini Conference boys tennis standings.

The Potters won their first championship in the sport since 2006 after accomplishing exactly what they needed to Friday at the league tournament at Dunlap.

Morton tied Metamora, 24-24, in an event that, for the third year in a row, featured a finals round composed entirely of Potters-Redbirds matchups.

Metamora had won the last six M-I titles.

"We have had some gifted teams during their run, so it felt great to finally get over the top of them," MHS head coach Joal Stanfield said.

Combining Morton's 6-0 dual mark with its performance at the conference finale, the team totaled 15.75 points for the season.

Metamora, 5-1 in duals, had 14.75 points for the spring.

The Potters' 6-3 home win April 16 was the difference.

In the M-I tournament hosted by Limestone in chilly conditions, the Redbirds drew three No. 1 seeds and a No. 2.

Morton, on the other hand was seeded first once, second twice and was No. 3 in another bracket.

The Potters' doubles tandems of Grant Reiman and Jonah Laktas and Chandler Stimpert and Andrew Payne earned titles in the Nos. 1 and 2 positions, respectively.

Reiman/Laktas won in straight sets in the first two matches vs. Dunlap and Washington.

They staved off the top-seeded Metamora duo of Christoph Goettler and Caleb Neumann, 6-2, 5-7, 6-1, in the championship bout.

Stimpert/Payne lived up to their billing, rallying to close out second-seeded Redbirds Nick Becker and Ryan Willard, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3. They were praised for playing exceptionally tough.

Stimpert/Payne also downed East Peoria in the semifinals.

No. 1 Morton singles player Trent Reiman was a runner-up.

He initially was going to play doubles, but an injury the day before the tournament put him in No. 1 singles.

Trent Reiman won handily against Limestone and then against former teammate Calen Crim of East Peoria in the semifinals.

No. 3 seed Taylor Nave also placed second for the Potters in No. 2 singles.

He upset second-seeded Timmy Latronico of Pekin, 6-3, 6-3, in the semifinals.

"Had any one of our players not made the final, we would have lost conference early on," said Stanfield.

Nave also was unscored upon in the quarterfinals vs. Washington.

The conference championship was the sixth for Morton in the 2012-13 school year and the first for a boys team.

Postseason: Morton is part of the eight-team Bloomington Sectional, which begins Friday and concludes Saturday.

The Potters have won eight of the last nine sectional championships.

The top four-finishers in singles and doubles advance to the May 23-25 Illinois High School Association state final in the Chicago suburbs.