First singles and doubles sends the boys varsity tennis team to the MHSAA State Tournament


Kyler Pell

Walker Sjolin punishes the net. Photo by Kyler Pell.

It took the boys varsity tennis team nearly 365 days to recapture the opportunity to bring home a state title; regardless, the Rangers kept their wits about them at the MHSAA Regional Tournament and capitalized on what they’ve been working for all season. 

Returning to yet another state tournament seems like a serious cause for celebration. However, this boys tennis program has created a standard for winning that is backed up by its consistent appearance in states. Once again for the Rangers, it was the first singles and doubles teams to triumph amongst their respective flights, and on their home court, the boys managed to earn a trip to Holland. 

When looking at the success this program has enjoyed, it is hard to ignore the significance that heritage and legacy hold. Walker Sjolin and Cully Herbert have not just made up FHC’s invincible first doubles team for the 2021 season; the two senior captains have even carried out the success of their former siblings. 

Walker’s brother Nick—who graduated in 2020—had the chance to enjoy similar success in the form of a state championship appearance during his senior year. Likewise, Peyton Herbert played for FHC a few years before Cully entered the scene and won a state championship while appearing in several others.  There is no doubt that legacy has been persistent throughout FHC’s storied history 

“Every year, I have gotten closer to winning states,” Walker said. “Now that it’s my senior year, it’s my last chance.”

Cully and Walker’s victory in the first doubles flight was impressive, but also was nothing new. These two have clicked all season long; they have the opportunity to earn the highest honor of high school tennis after advancing.

“I feel like we are going to win states because we put in the most time over the summer; Cully and I are the strongest competitors,” Walker said. 

At first singles, junior phenom Sammy Yin clinched a spot in Holland with multiple dominating performances. Sammy’s play brought back shades of Ranger tennis legends such as the James brothers—Cooper, Justin, and Jeremy, as well as Aidan Rynbrandt and Humzah Azeem. After two years of developing under head coach Dan Bolhouse, Yin has stepped into the center spotlight for his junior year; a trip to states highlights his underrated status in terms of national rankings. In just three seemingly short seasons, Sammy has certainly etched in his name along with the rest of these FHC legends. 

“It was disappointing to score just one less overall point than Northern, but I thought everybody did very well,” Sammy said. “Our programs always seem to clash, and I’m glad to be a part of this run to states.”

Luckily for FHC, the Rangers will get another shot at the Huskies next Friday and Saturday at the MHSAA State Tournament. This time around, though, the stakes are higher than they’ve ever been; the boys varsity tennis squad has the chance to make FHC history.