Hilgeman wins tennis conference as senior

Peter Griffith

The men’s tennis season came to a close last weekend with the Vikings competing in the Midwest Conference tournament in Madison. Senior Brian Hilgeman was Lawrence’s star of the weekend, winning the No. 3 singles conference championship after defeating Grinnell’s Rick Fenbert in straight sets in the final. Hilgeman was seeded second behind Fenbert coming into the tournament, and defeated Knox’s Steve Petrovich and Monmouth’s Matt Moser to set up his championship match versus Fenbert. He played sensationally and didn’t drop a single set en route to Lawrence’s only championship of the weekend.
Senior Nick Beyler was knocked out of the No. 2 singles bracket in the semifinals, losing a very close match to eventual runner-up Dave Czarnecki of Ripon. Sophomore Philip Roy won the consolation championship in No. 6 singles over Brayton Groth of Lake Forest College. Also notable in doubles action was the Vikings’ No. 1 doubles team of Beyler and Hilgeman, who made it to the semifinals before narrowly losing to eventual champions Czarnecki and Paul Vanden Boogaard in three sets.
Grinnell College won its third team championship in four years, defeating perennial Lawrence rivals St. Norbert and Ripon, each by a 4-1 margin.
Beyler and Hilgeman make up the graduating class of tennis players and will leave a gaping hole in the team’s lineup going into next year. The team has a large group of recruits coming in and will look to them to immediately step up and fill some top-six spots.