Lemont High School junior Nick Urban already was the first tennis player in school history to finish among the state’s top 32 singles players in state finals competition, having done so as both a freshman and sophomore in 2012 and 2013, respectively. However, Urban went a step further at the 2014 IHSA Boys’ Tennis State Finals, which were contested from May 29-31 and hosted by High School Districts 211 and 214. Urban finished with a 4-2 record and by advancing to the sixth consolation round, was one of the top 24 singles players in the state. Senior Joe Ziebell and junior Nathaniel Burner posted a 1-2 record in doubles play. Lemont has sent a representative to state finals play nine straight years.
Urban entered the state finals with just one loss this season, and became the first player in the program’s history to receive a seed at the IHSA State Finals; with a #17-32 ranking, he was considered one of the draw’s top 32 players. Urban eased through the first two rounds, topping both Althoff Catholic’s Austin Mueller (6-0, 6-1) and Waubonsie Valley’s Suveer Kothuri (6-1, 6-2) in straight sets. In the third round, he fell short against New Trier’s Scott Bickel (6-2, 6-1), who was one of the tourney’s top 16 seeds.
Urban won two more matches in the consolation bracket. After ousting Hampshire’s Elisha Hougland (6-4, 6-3) in the fourth consolation round, he ran up against Glenbrook North’s Mark Wu, who also held a #17-32 seed. After dropping the first set, Urban rebounded to top Wu in three sets (4-6, 6-3, 6-3). He saw his career-best state finals run end against Marian Catholic’s Kyle Scheffers - a top 16 seed - in the sixth consolation round (7-5, 6-1).
Urban now has a career 10-6 record in state finals play after posting 3-2 records as both a freshman and sophomore. He finished his junior season with a 25-3 record.
Burner and Ziebell dropped their first round match to Belleville East’s Spencer Smith and Nick Spitze (6-2, 6-3). However, they rebounded to bounce Centralia’s Jake Casner and Caleb Wehking (6-3, 6-2) in the first consolation round. Their state finals run ended against Benet’s Riley Marshall and Patrick McGuigan (6-3, 6-3) in the second consolation round.
Urban and the Burner/Ziebell tandem advanced to state finals play by finishing third in their respective flights at the IHSA Joliet West Sectional. Head coach Jon DeGuzman’s team just missed its second straight IHSA Sectional crown, falling short by two points to sectional titlist Joliet Catholic.
Urban won the South Suburban Conference-Blue Division’s No. 1 singles flight for the third straight year in 2014, while Burner and Ziebell triumphed at No. 1 doubles. DeGuzman’s team won its straight SSC Blue team title, as senior Faraz Longi won the No. 2 singles flight, and the tandems of junior Juan Diaz-Sanin and Ace Matthews (No. 2 doubles) and seniors Austin Economos and Jeff Mason (No. 3 doubles) each finished second in their respective competitions.
The boys’ tennis program is the school’s tenth sport to be represented in IHSA State Finals competition this year. The girls’ bowling squad competed in the IHSA State Finals; the cheerleading squad won the IHSA Medium Division State Championship; the poms/dance team competed in the IHSA Class 2A Competitive Dance State Finals; sophomore Taylor Campos participated in the IHSA Class 2A Girls’ Cross Country State Finals; senior Bridget Lynn competed at the IHSA Class AA Girls’ Golf State Finals; junior Annette Lesnicki advanced to the IHSA Girls’ Swimming State Finals; senior Lisa Gawron took part in the IHSA Girls’ Tennis State Finals; juniors Jacque Desmond (6th, pole vault) and Vika Marmaite (2nd, triple jump) each medaled at the IHSA Class 3A Girls’ Track and Field State Finals; and junior Jimmy Brennan and freshmen Egan Berta and Jake Kirkman each participated in the IHSA Class 2A Wrestling Individual State Finals.