All season, Madison West girls tennis coach Kyle Goodman hoped the Regents could repeat the late-year success they enjoyed in 2016.
So far, so good.
The Regents’ depth paid dividends when the two-day Big Eight Conference tournament wrapped up late Thursday night.
The Regents, ranked third in Division 1 in the state coaches’ poll, defended their conference tournament crown by claiming the No. 1 doubles and No. 4 singles titles, two runner-up spots and three third-place finishes at Nielsen Tennis Stadium.
Madison West finished with 40 points, just ahead of Middleton, which won No. 2 doubles and No. 3 doubles and finished second with 35 points. Eighth-ranked Madison Memorial, with two flight titles, was third with 33 points; Sun Prairie finished fourth with 30.
The top-seeded team of Madison West senior Laura Nicholas and freshman Abby Bremel won the No. 1 doubles title, topping Middleton’s Michelle Chi and Maddie Clark 6-3, 6-4 in the title match.
“I thought we were playing really well at the beginning and really well at the end — and decent in the middle,” Nicholas said.
Nicholas combined with Hoi Ming Lee McVey to earn the No. 1 doubles conference championship last year. But Nicholas was paired with Bremel this season after Lee McVey was sidelined by injury this summer.
“It’s been great,” Nicholas said about playing with Bremel. “I’m an only child, so I feel like a big sister. It’s so awesome. I’ve learned so much from her and I also feel like a teacher.”
Bremel — who primarily had played singles — said she has enjoyed playing doubles.
“It’s been a really great experience so far,” said Bremel, who’s 1 minute older than her twin, Maddi. Maddi finished third at No. 2 singles for the Regents.
Madison West senior Nyah Banik defended her No. 4 singles title, edging Sun Prairie sophomore Kaia Feldman 7-5, 7-5.
Sun Prairie advanced players to all four singles finals, and came away with one victory.
Sun Prairie senior Lats Sysouvanh, the top seed, won her second consecutive conference crown at No. 1 singles, defeating Middleton senior Kai Heineman 6-1, 6-1 in the championship match.
Sysouvanh overcame a 5-2 first-set deficit and edged Madison West senior Ellie Kaji, 7-5, 7-5, in a semifinal.
Heineman topped Madison Memorial’s Ingrid Goldstrand 7-5, 7-5 in the other semifinal.
“I wanted to finish my senior season with a big conference win,” said Sysouvanh, coming back from a left ankle injury sustained earlier in the month.
“I felt a lot better in the championship than in the semifinal. I was just pretty jittery (in the semifinal) and Ellie is a very good player. … I just collected myself (after falling behind).”
Madison Memorial sophomore Grace Olson won a three-set marathon over Sun Prairie freshman Lauren Hope Bruemmer at No. 2 singles, 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-3.
Madison Memorial’s sophomore Julia Zhou was the winner at No. 3 singles, taking a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Sun Prairie senior Katie Tews, who claimed the No. 3 singles title over Zhou last year.
Middleton and Madison West squared off in all three doubles finals, with the Cardinals winning two titles.
Middleton’s Jessica Pientka and Noor Rajpal won the No. 2 doubles crown with a 6-4, 7-5 victory over Madison West’s top-seeded duo of Katie Goetz and Camille Vadas.
Middleton’s top-seeded No. 3 doubles team of Jada Thomas and Anjleen Kaur earned a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 victory over Madison West’s Olivia O’Dea and Anna Grutzner in the final.