Boys varsity tennis caps off an incredible season with a birth at the state tournament


At the commencement of the 2021 fall sports season, it didn’t take many matches to recognize the potential greatness within this year’s boys varsity tennis team. In fact, it was merely the second week of school. 

The boys’ performance on the second day of September at the Gross Pointe Invite in Detroit was enough to open eyes. The Rangers beat the Norseman that day, as the team’s stars began to emerge and mold together into a state championship-contending lineup. Looking back, the varsity boys have somehow deemed such high expectations as a safe bet.

“This team carried on the FHC tradition of excellence on and off the court,” head coach Dan Bolhouse said. “We worked very hard and played against so many elite teams throughout the season.” 

There is no denying the difficulty of FHC’s schedule this fall. The Rangers took on Groves High School–the eventual Divison II state champion–and barely lost 5-3. This kind of resilience and ability is something that contributed to the boys’ success all season long. After muddling through this extremely tough slate of games, the Rangers began to get hot quickly. 

Following an outright victory at the highly-touted Midland Dow Classic, FHC strung together a winning streak with victories over conference foes such as as East Grand Rapids and Byron Center. As juniors Sammy Yin and Chris Shang cruised through opponents in this stretch, it was clear that FHC possessed the talent to win states. After two huge wins over Division I powerhouses in Rockford and St. Francis, the likelihood increased on a large scale. 

For FHC’s singles, Sammy and Chris made up the first two teams all year long. Following the junior phenoms was a steady dose of youth, with sophomore Nico Notarnicola and freshman William Wen rounding out the singles category. These four bring unmatched abilities; they were responsible for much of FHC’s success. 

On the doubles side, senior captains Cully Herbert and Walker Sjolin capped of their storybook season with a semifinal birth in the state tournament. Also, senior Nick Yasenchak and junior Noah Kriekard did their part by wreaking havoc. With the senior-sophomore combination of Devin Holcomb and Philip Murdock also in the lineup, the doubles teams possessed a special talent on the courts. 

Heading into next season, coach Bolhouse is looking to expand on the program’s legacy with the upbringing of the team’s underclassmen. In order to achieve this, the freshmen and sophomores must rise to the occasion this offseason. 

“I’m excited to see our younger guys develop into leaders,” coach Bolhouse said. “I watched our team become very close, which makes me excited for 2022 and beyond!”