Edison, NJ – The Millburn Girls Tennis Team captured their fourth consecutive Tournament of Champions victory over Holmdel to cap off the 2016-17 season. For most teams, the Tournament of Champions is an accomplishment fit for the immortal, and is a once in a lifetime experience. For the Lady Millers however, the Tournament of Champions is the traditional way to finish the season.

Individual state doubles champions Sarah Jacobs and Isabella Waung, and the Junior duo of Macey Wardius and Jess Raystin paved the road to victory early by sweeping both doubles matches to give the Lady Millers the early 2-0 lead.

The Star Ledger’s reigning Player of the Year Stephanie Schrage bounced back from a rare defeat in the state singles final at the hands of Paramus Catholic’s Andrea Cerdan. She was able to defeat Brianna Gibbs 6-4, 6-3. Millburn’s Alex Pritsker and Sydney Zirlin were not as fortunate as they fell to Holmdel’s Alexandra Wojciak and Rita Vought, respectively.

Although it was close, Hall of Fame Head Coach William Wickenheisser was not concerned. “I do not fill my mind with negative thoughts. I am always focused on dissecting what we are doing well on the courts and what the opponents are struggling with and then try to convey that information to the players in a calming manner” said Wickenheisser. “Too many people fail because they are focused on the prize or outcome and they never spend time taking in important information on the path that they are creating. I never focus on winning or losing. I just want us to be better at the end of the season than we were at the beginning of the season.”

Public high school sports is unlike professional sports. With no free agency or draft, it is almost unheard of to create a dynasty. However, Millburn has managed to string together their sixth straight Tournament of Champions appearance, and 93rd victory in a row.

“It is really incredible to not lose a match in any season and here the girls have done it for four plus years. What is so sensational about the win streak is all of the different players that have contributed over the years” said Wickenheisser. “We have had several new starters every year and players floating around in different positions, as well as several very talented student-athletes in the school that decided on skipping high school tennis and yet the Millers continue to grind it out and contribute however they can…. I think it has a lot to do with how hard the players work in the off-season and players wanting to take the next step from JV to Varsity or from Varsity role-player to Varsity starter”

Throughout this historic stretch, Wickenheisser has been accompanied by three of his starters. Stephanie Schrage, Sydney Zirlin, and Isabella Waung, all seniors have been part of the program for four years.

The Lady Millers will look to keep the streak of Championships alive after graduating eight seniors from the varsity team, the most Wickenheisser has ever had. Millburn will have plenty of talent to pass the torch to in the plethora of Junior talent on the varsity squad this year, including Macey Wardius, Jess Raystin, Alex Pritsker, and Sara Jacobs.

Brad Klein
Brad is a writer and commentator for Studio 462.