Westside Boys Tennis Finishes Runner Up at Metros


Cece Gerard

AJ Shefksy serves at the Warrior Invite. Shefsky placed fifth at Metros. – Photo by Cece Gerard

The Westside boys varsity tennis team impressed many with their runner-up placement at the Metro Conference Tournament this past week on Wednesday, Oct. 6 and Thursday Oct.7

After a strong first day, No. 2 singles and both No. 1 and No. 2 doubles all found themselves in finals for their respective tournaments on day two. No.1 singles, sophomore A.J. Shefsky, although losing to Papio South’s Ian Lewis in the second round, finished fifth after two big wins against Millard West’s Connor Staskiewicz and Millard North’s Jalan Zhu. For the former state champion in No. 2 singles, No. 1 singles didn’t come quite as easy.

“Taking that jump from No. 2 singles to No. 1 singles was something I had been preparing for,” Shefsky said. “Finishing in fifth does leave a salty taste in my mouth and it only means I have to continue working harder.”

At the end of day one, the Warriors found themselves just two points behind leader Creighton Prep. On day two, No. 2 singles Josh Rosenblatt took home first place, beating Millard North’s Jonathon Sabirianov. Both No. 1 doubles, Clark Rue and Alex Kugler as well as No. 2 doubles in Thomas Pate and Zev Gordman would fall in their finals matchups, taking home runner-up. For the senior Gordman, the Metro Tournament meant a great deal to him.

“Winning Metro has definitely been a goal of mine since I was a freshman,” Gordman said. “Although Thomas (Pate) and I fell short, I was very proud of our improvements.”

The Warriors, ending with 32 points, would fall to Creighton Prep’s 42 for total team placement. Entering the “put-it-all-together” phase, the Warriors used this tournament as a crucial warmup for the state tournament, which is coming up later in the week.

“The Metro tournament definitely helped us adjust to high pressure situations,” Shefsky said. “We all had some very close and intense matches, which were previews of the many big moments that state has to offer.”

Westside head coach Bart Jeseritz recognizes that his team has as much talent and potential as anybody in the state, but he makes it a point of emphasis that the players keep their heads in the game, and avoid distractions heading into the biggest moments of the season.

“I think the key to success is going to be mental focus,” Jeseritz said. “We have the talent to compete with anybody, so if we can keep our heads right and our attitudes right we have the chance to go out and do something special.”

The Warriors look to capitalize on all of their hard work at the state tournament, which will take place on Thursday, Oct. 14 and Friday, Oct. 15 at the Koch Tennis Center in Omaha.