Boys Tennis: Burke, O’Reilly makes brief trip to State
Lyons Township's Bobby Burke finished out his high school career at the state meet. | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 3, 2012 11:56AM
Bobby Burke couldn’t just walk away from the state meet after the Lyons Township doubles player was eliminated May 24 in the first day of competition.
The senior was content with just being a spectator the rest of the way, which is why Burke and several of his teammates stopped by to watch Saturday’s finals at Hersey. Burke and many of his buddies from LT moved from court to court, mainly watching their West Suburban Conference Silver Division rivals from Hinsdale Central. Hinsdale Central’s top doubles team of Alex Hagermoser and Peter Heneghan went on to win the state championship and freshman singles player Martin Joyce claimed fourth place.
The Red Devils won their 21st state title with a school-best 50 points in the state meet.
LT scored 18 points — 12 points in singles and six points in doubles. The Lions were the third best team from the conference in the state meet, while Oak Park-River Forest, third-place finishers the last two years, settled for a fifth-place tie with Deerfield and Glenbrook South (25 points each).
Burke and his season-long doubles partner, Chris O’Reilly, made brief appearances in their first state meet. The Western Springs residents lost two of their first three matches to bow out of the state meet after scoring one point. Burke and O’Reilly, LT’s No. 2 doubles team, could be considered victims of a bad draw. Their first opponent, Edwardsville’s Justin Leskera and Cameron Randall, went on to place fourth. The Tigers duo beat Burke and O’Reilly 6-2, 6-2.
“It was great competition. It was fun to play,” Burke said. “Now I can go off to college and be glad to have experienced this.”
Burke and O’Reilly earned their first trip to State by taking fourth place in their own sectional May 19. They lost to teammates and LT’s No. 1 doubles team of Connor Wasz and Jack Wennerstrum in three sets.
Wasz, LT’s only other senior at the state meet, went 4-2 at the state meet before getting eliminated by Benet’s Bobby Martin and Matt Rurka, 6-0, 6-2, in the consolation bracket’s fifth round.
Burke and O’Reilly came back from their opening loss to beat South Elgin’s Francis Manzano and Aayush Patel 6-1, 6-1 in their first consolation match. Burke and O’Reilly, a junior and the starting center from LT’s boys basketball team, were eliminated 6-3, 6-2 by Neuqua Valley’s Jack Warning and Andi Kosova.
LT’s singles players, junior Jake Elliott and freshman Alex Ross, went 4-2 each in the state meet and were eliminated by Lake Forest’s two singles players. Lake Forest’s Peter Tarwid beat Elliott 6-4, 6-3 and Lake Forest’s Scott Christian defeated Ross 6-3, 6-2. Lake Forest finished third in the team standings.
Until this season, Burke always considered himself a singles player. That changed with the emergence of Elliott and the addition of Ross, a Burr Ridge resident, who is ranked fifth in the state and 78th nationally in his class year, according to tennisrecruiting.net.
“This was my only year where I played only doubles,” Burke said. “It was a totally different experience.
Burke said it took until a May 1 dual meet at Oak Park-River Forest for his partnership with O’Reilly to really click. Burke and O’Reilly won their match and gained confidence about 1 1/2 weeks before the conference meet at home in Western Springs.
“We had great chemistry. We figured out what communication it takes for us to win. By playing with him so much, you get used to each other. We know each other’s strengths and weakness.”
Burke plans on continuing to play club-level tennis at Santa Clara University. He decided on Santa Clara based on a suggestion by his father, Robert, but knows the small California school is not foremost on many minds of Chicago area high school students. A few weeks ago, he attended a meeting in Evanston hosted by Santa Clara for incoming freshman students and only four Chicago area seniors showed up. Burke said he is the only LT student headed to Santa Clara.
“It has good weather,” Burke said.