Van Wert’s Michael Etter earns District berth

LIMA — Van Wert senior Michael Etter surprised fourth-seeded Carter Welch of Ottawa-Glandorf in the go-to district match at the boys tennis sectional at UNOH on Thursday afternoon.

Etter will face top-seeded Justin Haggard, of Bluffton, in Saturday’s sectional semifinals, but regardless of the outcome, Etter will play next week at the BGSU district tournament. Saturday’s matches will determine district seeding.

Etter dispatched of Mason King (St. Marys) 6-1, 6-1 to open play on Thursday, then knocked out St. Marys’ Howie Spencer, 6-4, 6-0. He then faced Welch, who had dropped only one point in his first two matches, combined. Etter won the first set 6-4 before going up two breaks in the second set and winning 6-2 to advance.

Welch was the only one of the top four seeds to fail to secure a district berth. Haggard won his two matches easily, while Shawnee’s Jackson Schaaf cruised through three matches and Ben Brinkman of LCC won at love in his second round match before posting a 6-2, 6-0 win in the quarterfinals.

Van Wert junior southpaw Kannen Wannemacher wound up one match short of extending his season. After playing second singles all year, Wannemacher showed well with an easy win over Kenton’s Taj Chahal. He then beat Andrew Vogel of St. Marys (6-2, 6-4) in a hotly-contested match. Wannemacher ran up against Haggard in the quarterfinals and lost 6-1, 6-0.

Van Wert’s Michael Hellman was bounced in the opening round by Schaaf.

In the doubles draw, Van Wert’s Storm Pierce and Nathan Ruger won their first match, but fell in the quarterfinals to second-seeded Zach balbaugh and Drew Kuhlman, of Ottawa-Glandorf. The Cougars’ first doubles team of Zane Fast and Kaden Thomas were eliminated one round earlier by Marcel Lansing and CJ Vanderhorst of St. Marys.

Etter will play in the district tournament beginning on Wednesday morning at Bowling Green State University.