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The Journal Gazette

  • Rachel Von Stroup | The Journal Gazette West Noble's Joel Mast serves the ball to Bellmont's Cole Shifferly at DeKalb on Saturday.

  • Rachel Von Stroup | The Journal Gazette Bellmont's Cole Shifferly, left, and West Noble's Joel Mast shake hands after their game at DeKalb on Saturday.

  • Rachel Von Stroup | The Journal Gazette West Noble's Joel Mast hits the ball during his game against Bellmont's Cole Shifferly at DeKalb on Saturday.

  • Rachel Von Stroup | The Journal Gazette West Noble's Joel Mast hits the ball during his game against Bellmont's Cole Shifferly at DeKalb on Saturday.

  • Rachel Von Stroup | The Journal Gazette West Noble's Joel Mast hits the ball during his game against Bellmont's Cole Shifferly at DeKalb on Saturday.

  • Rachel Von Stroup | The Journal Gazette West Noble's Chris Miller, right, and Brayden Bohde face off against Northwood during their doubles match at DeKalb on Saturday.

Sunday, August 25, 2019 1:00 am

Mast back to form in return to the court

West Noble senior wins DeKalb Invite

ELIZABETH WYMAN | The Journal Gazette

WATERLOO – Joel Mast, a senior, hadn't played high-school tennis in two years. Now healthy, Mast is quickly ensuring competitors remember his name.

West Noble's No. 1 singles player took the top spot at the DeKalb Invitational, while Norwell's Logan House and Tonner Johnson used a huge comeback to win at No. 1 doubles and lead the Knights to the overall team title Saturday.

“It feels good to get a win as a Charger. It feels nice to have my team here and finally be in a season where I can assume my ability,” said Mast, who had spent his sophomore season practicing with area college teams and then had season-ending knee surgery before junior year play even started.

Mast had a near perfect day, dropping only two games, and he ended his afternoon with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Bellmont sophomore Cole Shifferly.

Chargers' coach Greg Riegsecker said the victory was exciting and, more importantly, gave Mast a chance to see what he's capable of this year.

“When he's playing good players, and these are good players he's playing against, Joel just kinda overpowered them. He didn't really give them a chance,” Riegsecker said.

Mast tore his patella in a USTA Midwest match last year. He returned five months after surgery, during basketball season this year.

“I was more motivated than I was nervous to come back,” he said. “Finally, to be able to play again and to feel 100%, it feels good.”

Mast has a few college offers and plans to go on more visits soon before, hopefully, making a decision by the end of the season or start of basketball season. He said his body feels good now and he's just working on getting back into the game mentally.

“All my strokes are there I just gotta learn the mental aspect of the game,” he said.

Norwell had a dominant day on the courts, placing players in the No. 2 and No. 3 singles final, and No. 1 doubles final.

House and Johnson turned around a match that saw them lose the first set 6-0 to DeKalb's Evan Ostrawski and Alex Holwerda.

“Feels good to get a one doubles championship here,” House said. “First set was awful, we couldn't figure them out, but once we got them figured out it was pretty good.”

Ostrawski and Holwerda, a much taller pair then House and Johnson, seemed to be flying through a match that was heavily in their favor.

“(DeKalb) kept coming up to the net, and we didn't know how to lob over them,” House said. “We started going right at them, and down the middle and getting up to the net before they did, and it worked.”

House and Johnson rattled off a 6-2 win before winning the tiebreaker 10-7.

“I think it's pretty good to come here and beat teams that aren't in our area that have good competition,” House said. “I think it's good going forward in conference.”

Northwood's Ben Vincent beat Norwell's Jack Gerber 6-0, 6-0 to take the No. 2 singles championship. East Noble's Vittorio Bona beat Norwell's Kaden Bussel 6-1, 6-1 for the No. 3 singles title.

DeKalb's Trey Novak and Kenlee Kruse defeated East Noble's Joel Glass and Jordan Jollief 6-3, 6-4 for the No. 2 doubles championship.

ewyman@jg.net