NEGAUNEE – Cars upon cars filled up the parking lot at Negaunee High School to watch the 60 tennis players take the courts for the 10th annual pioneer days team tennis open.
More predominant sports like Alumni softball tournaments have thrived for decades, and now Negaunee tennis has completed their first. The tournament has endured thanks to the players and sponsors of course, but with no doubt the majority of credit should be give to Coach Kyle Saari, who created the tournament during his second year as head coach. Now in its 10th year, this tennis tournament continues to grow for both players new and old.
“Tennis is great because it is a life-long sport, “said Negaunee Varsity Tennis Coach Kyle Saari, “and that’s what’s on display today too. We’ve got a player as young as entering 8th grade right now and then as experienced as some players all the way up to the age of 70.”
Most participants still reside within the area. However, 2008 graduate Zack Fredin traveled the furthest driving over 100 miles to show he still retains the skills learned from his high school days.
Another highlight came from the intense showdown between former #1 Singles player Luke Skewis, and his dad Dan who is a former tennis coach.
Over a dozen sponsors throughout Marquette County chipped in to help fund the event furthering the belief that this tournament shows no signs of slowing down.
“The ten year mark, I think it is something special,” added Saari. “It definitely doesn’t feel like ten years that this has been running. It feels like we just put this together yesterday. It’s a mark of longitivity and being able to get ten years in, hopefully it solidifies us for ten more to come and we continue to build from that.”
Additional volunteers helped the athletes stay hydrated throughout the blistering heat.
Congratulations to Coach Saari and all of the Miners both present and past on another successful tournament.