Sheldon-Pasielak win Hersey's first state tennis doubles championship

  • Hersey's doubles team of Mitch Sheldon, left, and Kacper Pasielak celebrate their state championship victory over Hinsdale Central Saturday.

      Hersey's doubles team of Mitch Sheldon, left, and Kacper Pasielak celebrate their state championship victory over Hinsdale Central Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Hersey doubles players Mitch Sheldon, left, and Kacper Pasielak win a point en route to their state championship Saturday.

      Hersey doubles players Mitch Sheldon, left, and Kacper Pasielak win a point en route to their state championship Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Hersey doubles player Mitch Sheldon lets loose Saturday after helping the Huskies to their first state doubles title.

      Hersey doubles player Mitch Sheldon lets loose Saturday after helping the Huskies to their first state doubles title. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Hersey's Kacper Pasielak whoops it up after closing out Hinsdale Central at the state tennis meet Saturday in Arlington Heights.

      Hersey's Kacper Pasielak whoops it up after closing out Hinsdale Central at the state tennis meet Saturday in Arlington Heights. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Hersey's Kacper Pasielak works the net Saturday during a semifinal win in the Class 2A state tennis tournament.

      Hersey's Kacper Pasielak works the net Saturday during a semifinal win in the Class 2A state tennis tournament. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Fremd's Andrew Spurck drives a return in his semifinal match at the state tennis tournament in Arlington Heights.

      Fremd's Andrew Spurck drives a return in his semifinal match at the state tennis tournament in Arlington Heights. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Barrington's Deven Carse returns a shot in his semifinal match at the state tennis tournament Saturday.

      Barrington's Deven Carse returns a shot in his semifinal match at the state tennis tournament Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Barrington singles player Deven Carse plays the ball near the sideline during the boys Class 2A state tennis semifinals at Hersey High School in Arlington Heights Saturday.

      Barrington singles player Deven Carse plays the ball near the sideline during the boys Class 2A state tennis semifinals at Hersey High School in Arlington Heights Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Barrington's Deven Carse didn't get the bounce he needed Saturday at the state tennis tournament at Hersey High School.

      Barrington's Deven Carse didn't get the bounce he needed Saturday at the state tennis tournament at Hersey High School. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Hersey's Mitch Sheldon plays a hard serve during Saturday's state tennis tournament.

      Hersey's Mitch Sheldon plays a hard serve during Saturday's state tennis tournament. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
By Mike Garofola
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 5/28/2022 8:48 PM

A huge gallery drenched in orange T-shirts with "Champions Play Here" emblazoned on the back, watched Saturday as the Hersey doubles team of Mitch Sheldon and Kacper Pasielak would thrill the fans with a pair of three-set thrillers in defeating Jai Vallurupalli and Anthony Lipari of Hinsdale Central to win the Huskies' first state tennis doubles title in program history.

The Sheldon-Pasielak team would complete a remarkable year at 29-0, including nearly five hours of tennis at the Tom Pitchford Tennis Complex in Arlington Heights.

 

"Mitch and Kacper have come a long way in a year (to) become a dominant doubles team (who) earned the No. 1 seed and played like the No. 1 all throughout -- taking on some adversity along the way to win a very deserving state title," said an emotional Andy Walton, Hersey's head coach whose club would finish fifth overall (21 points). State champ Hinsdale Central finished with 49 points, New Trier second at 29 points and Barrington was third with 26. Fremd was fourth with 24 points, Highland Park sixth with 19, while Stevenson was seventh with 13 points. Jacobs, Naperville Central and Glenbrook North all had 12.

"This is a proud day for MSL tennis, and my hat's off to Mitch and Kacper, who are a great doubles team, and great champions," Barrington coach John Roncone said.

"After watching my brother (Max) finish second twice, Kacper and I have talked about having our chance to do so -- and today, we got there, and played the best we could in both matches to win a state title," Shelton said.

The Huskies duo were cool and composed during a semifinal 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 win over Alex Kotarski and James Theriault of Hinsdale Central. The broke open the third set with an array of power serves from the lefty Sheldon, and exquisite play around the net from Pasielak.

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"There was a lot of talk coming from their side of the net, but I think it fired (up) our fans for sure, and it kind of helped inspire us to win to advance," Pasielak said.

Mid-Suburban League champion Barrington earned its best team finish since its third place collected in 2000, thanks in part to a superb all-around effort from Pranav Gadiraju and Deven Carse at singles, along with its doubles team of Gabe Mills and Ethan Paik.

Gadiraju (27-6) was sixth overall, Carse (26-4) fourth, and Mills-Paik (28-5) just missing a medal after their loss in the consolation semifinal.

"Pranav went out in style. He played great tennis all three days, beating great players Thomas Nelson (Jacobs) and Matthew Plunkett (New Trier), while Deven battle all throughout until leg cramps did him in during his third-place match with Andrew Spurck from Fremd," Roncone said.

Spurck (27-2) who came in as the No. 2 seed, was stopped cold in his semifinal with eventual state champion Mujtaba Ali-Khan of Hinsdale Central prevailing 6-2, 6-2.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Andrew beat (Ali-Khan) at the Pitchford, but today (maybe) because a case of nerves, or not, he made a few mistakes along the way that he normally does not do, and just was not able to recover -- with plenty of credit to Ali-Khan for that," Fremd coach Johnny Kent said.

"Other than that match, he played great all-around tennis, and he will be back, and better than ever next spring."

In the 1A tournament, Carmel Catholic would make history, while Doug Gerber's Vernon Hills team earned a second straight fourth-place finish.

The Cougars tallied 16 points, 14 coming from its doubles teams who each fell short in their respective bids to nab a state medal.

Aditya Sabharwal-Andrew Tikhonor lost in three sets to Springfield, while Anthony Pomeranets-Daniel Shchebalev dropped a straight set contest to Carmel's Miles Whelan and Adrian Larrea, who later became the first in Corsairs program history to bring home a medal.

"Rohit Dashapautra and freshmen Aarush Vora each injured their ankles which slowed both down, and Aditya suffered leg cramps in the match with Springfield," Gerber said. "All in all I am very proud of all the players for their play this weekend."

The Whelan-Larrea (22-7) team used a three-set victory in its consolation quarterfinal match, and straight-set win over Vernon Hills' Pomeranets-Shchebalev to ensure the Corsairs' sixth-place finish.

"I cannot tell you how proud I am of these guys," said Corsairs coach Gina Borkowski.

"They battled and fought, and won some big points to keep going today, so they are very deserving of their state medal."

"I know for a fact neither one of us expected to go this far in the tournament, but it is pretty amazing," admitted Whelan, who will play at Carthage College next fall.

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