EagleHerald/Brian Bell
Menominee’s Aidan Bellisle watches his shot just miss hitting the net during No. 3 doubles play at U.P. Finals in Kingsford on Wednesday.
EagleHerald/Brian Bell

Menominee’s Aidan Bellisle watches his shot just miss hitting the net during No. 3 doubles play at U.P. Finals in Kingsford on Wednesday.

KINGSFORD, Mich. — The No. 1 doubles team of seniors Kyle Anderson and Cade Fernstrum and freshmen Aidan Bellisle and Brady Schultz led Menominee to a fifth place finish at the U.P. Finals tennis meet held in Kingsford on Wednesday.

Anderson and Fernstrum started their day off by dropping their first set to Escanaba’s Garrett Lamarche and Travis Burch 2-6, but the duo regrouped and came back to win the next two sets 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the semifinal match where they met Jackson Sager and Drew Lindberg, the 1-seed from Negaunee.

The two Maroons played well in the match, but Negaunee has one of, if not the, best tennis programs in the U.P., and Anderson and Fernstrum ended up losing 0-6, 2-6 to the eventual U.P. champs.

“Kyle and Cade came out really strong in the first match. I was impressed with their overall play,” Menominee coach Sam Larson said. “They ran into a very good Negaunee team in their second match and the score is not indicative of how they played. They had some great volleys and points all throughout the match.”

In their first match against Kingsford’s Matt Moreau and Dan Hellman, Bellisle and Schultz played exceptional and came away with a 6-2, 6-4 victory to advance to the semifinals. Menominee couldn’t find a way to escape Negaunee, however, and the young Maroons faced off against the experienced Nathan Brundage and Preston Toutant. The Miners were victorious 6-1, 6-3 and went on to win the title match over Marquette 5-7, 6-3, 6-1.

Larson made note that he was proud of the two freshman for the growth they’ve shown over the year, and is excited to see what the future holds for them.

“Aidan and Brady have come so far since the beginning of the year,” Larson said. “They dominated that first match against Kingsford to reach the semifinal. It’ll be fun to see where they’re at next year.”

Senior Tyler Kuester drew Esky’s Christer Carne in his first round matchup, and after taking the first set 6-2, he fell in the final two 2-6, 2-6 to be eliminated. Senior Steve Polaski also fell in his first round match to Esky’s Gunner Dlugas 6-0, 6-0 and sophomore Felipe Zamora fells to Kingsford 6-3, 7-5 in the first round.

The No. 2 doubles team of seniors Noah Everard and Braeden Parrett were defeated by Gladstone 7-6 (7-5), 6-1 and the No. 4 team of Aden Laurin and Jason Bowers fell to Kingsford 6-4, 6-3.

Larson mentioned that he was proud of how his team improved over the season, and although the win numbers weren’t where they wanted, the kids have a lot to be proud of.

“At the end of the day, I think we can step back and appreciated all the growth over the course of the season,” he said. “Our win number wasn’t where we would have liked, but everybody became a better player every day.”

It was the last match for Anderson, Everard, Fernstrum, Kuester and Polaski, and Larson thanked them for the dedication they’ve shown over the past few years before moving his focus on to getting ready for preparing the returning players for bigger spots next season.

“I’d like to thank our seniors for their time and dedication over the course of their career. They will be greatly missed, but our young guys showed a lot of promise and will have big roles to fill next year,” he said. “It’ll be fun to see the improvement a year has.”

Kuester was named All-U.P. at No. 1 singles and the team of Anderson and Fernstrum was named All-U.P. at No. 1 doubles.

Team scores: Negaunee 21, Marquette 16, Kingsford 8, Escanaba 6, Menominee 2, Gladstone 1