The Alpena boys tennis team have been showcasing a series of firsts this year. Not only did they win their first ever regional championship, with Samyak Harsh and Noah Barney-Steinke at number one doubles, but number one singles Abram Purol has qualified to attend the MHSAA division 2 state finals in Midland this Friday and Saturday.
"It feels really great. It's like everything you imagined since you were young and it's the ultimate goal, pretty much, for a tennis player," Purol said.
Purol has been playing tennis since he was about six or seven years old and is the first tennis player that coach Charlie Giordano has sent to the state finals in his 11 years as a coach.
Abram Purol, seen here returning a shot in a match against Petoskey, is headed to the division 2 individual tennis state finals on Friday. He is the first AHS tennis player that coach Charlie Giordano has sent to the state finals.
"I haven't checked the record books from before I started, but he's definitely the first kid I know that I've sent. It feels great. He's been working on his game for a number of years, he got a lot more patient this year," Giordano said.
Purol made it to the state final by getting second place in the regional playoff. As a number one single, he was eligible to attend state with a first or second place finish.
Number two singles player Andre Gagnon was also second at regionals, but was not eligible to attend state without a number two singles championship win.
"We had three teams in the regional finals this year. That's a big step for us as a team and hopefully we can build off of that," Giordano said.
According to Giordano, the big difference between Purol's play this year and last year was his adaptability.
"There's some matches where he came out shooting well, but things changed and he started playing not so well. In the past, he'd have stuck with his old style, but now he'd adapt, bide his time and figure out how to win," Giordano said.
Purol's first match is a bye, meaning he will face the winner of the match between John Rhind of Riverview Gabriel Richard or Jacob Zacharias of Grosse Point North.
Purol has already scouted out his opponents for the playoffs.
"That's my personality. I like to look ahead and see everything and plan out everything and see how my chances are,"Purol said.
Purol will travel to Midland to begin the finals on Friday.?The finals will take place in the Midland Tennis Center at 900 E Wackerly St in Midland. The state champions in each division will be decided on Saturday.
"My first match is definitely winnable, so I think I should be able to make it to the quarters and maybe even further," he said.
Eric Benac can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5690. Follow Eric on Twitter @EricBenac.