CJ Mauer (left) and Nico Zelinger advanced to state last year. (Mike Ramczyk/SLN)



By Tim Wester

Sports Correspondent

After last season’s memorable season that saw a doubles team make an improbable run to state, the Union Grove boys tennis team has a tough act to follow this spring.                     Last season, German exchange student Nico Zeilinger and CJ Maurer epitomized the best of Wisconsin high school sports after forming a doubles team on the fly that turned into a state-qualifying doubles team.                                     This season, what the Broncos lack in intrigue, they more than make up for it in talent and experience.

“We’ll have a similar group of guys leading the way for us this season,” Union Grove coach Mike Brannen said. “CJ and Nico are gone, but other than that, we have a good core group of returning players.”

Senior Alec Dam returns to nab the Broncos’ one singles spot. Dam looks to regain his form as a sophomore when he qualified for state in the spring of 2016.

Ethan Squires, meanwhile, will take over at two singles.

The other two spots will be up for grabs with a cast of young players vying for the open spots.

On the doubles side, senior doubles stalwart Tanner Kastensen will team with junior Finn Hourigan at one doubles.

Sophomore Drake Miller and junior Jeffrey Furner have nabbed the two doubles spot.

That leaves a doubles team opening for newcomers.

“We have a good group of newcomers this season,” Brannen said. “Logan Wirtz and Alec Edstrom are two young guys that should be in the mix.”

Brennan tabs Lake Geneva Badger as the favorite to win the Southern Lakes Conference, with Westosha Central likely to be second.

The rest of the conference could be up for grabs with the Broncos in the mix.

“Our hope is that we can finish in the top group again like we always try to do,” Brannen said. “We are team that’s learning its going take a little bit before we hit our stride.”