Oct. 20, 2012
Air Force senior Lance Wilhelm's run in the singles draw at the USTA/ITA Mountain Region Men's Tennis Championships came to an end Saturday at the Darling Tennis Center in Las Vegas, Nev. Wilhelm, who had won four straight matches, lost a tough, three-setter in the semifinals to the tournament's top-seed and defending champion, Enej Bonin of Denver, 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3.
Wilhelm, the sixth-seeded player in the tournament, advanced further than any Air Force player at the Region Championships since Shannon Buck lost in the finals in 2005.
"Lance's run to the semis was impressive to watch and he came awfully close to making the finals," said Air Force head coach Dan Oosterhous. "He pushed the defending champ to 3-all in the third set before getting beat and he played the best tennis of his career over the course of the week."
Junior Alex Grubbs split a pair of matches in the consolation singles bracket Saturday, defeating Todd Fought of Weber State, 7-6, 6-1 in the quarterfinals before falling to Moez Charqui of Nevada, 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-1 in the semis.
In doubles, Wilhelm and sophomore Grant Taylor defeated Charqui and Andrew Poustie 8-2 on Saturday and advanced to the finals of the consolation doubles bracket. Due to travel conflicts, the final was not played. Grubbs and fellow junior Andy Jackson made it to the semis of the consolation bracket.
"Our guys fought, scrapped, and clawed for every match this week and we came away with some tremendous wins," said Oosterhous. "In fact, our whole team made a loud presence in the region, winning more matches than in our previous two years combined. It's been this group's best fall season yet and gives me a great deal of confidence going into the spring season."