Wasz takes third sport to stateDowners Grove, 5/21/11--Lyons Township's Connor Wasz hits a return during Saturday's sectionals at Downers Grove South High School. | Jeff Krage~for Sun-Times Media
Connor Wasz doesn’t have any football or basketball teammates to support him when he’s all alone on the tennis court.
Wasz is Lyons’ top singles player and will make his state tournament debut Thursday when the junior from Western Springs competes in the Northwest suburbs.
Wasz earned a trip to the state tournament with a semifinal victory Saturday at the Downers South Sectional. He placed third in the sectional when Hinsdale South junior George Alex defaulted due to injury in his final match.
Downers South (24 points) won the sectional title over Lyons (20).
Lyons also advanced both of its doubles teams as Jake Elliott and Danny Schuster won the sectional title with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 win over Downers South’s Cody Freischlag and Connor Harmon. Will Longo and Kam Weeraklaew took third place by beating Downers South’s Kiernen Cavanaugh and Anton Urgello, 6-2, 6-1.
Elliott and Schuster are back in the state tournament for the second consecutive year together. They went 4-2 last season.
Longo and Weerkalaew each return for second trips, but competed with different doubles partners a year ago.
Wasz had never won in a sectional quarterfinal before. He lost at singles last year and at doubles in 2009. He was the No. 4 seed entering the sectional.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Wasz said. “This is my third year of varsity and I finally made it.”
Wasz is an unusual tennis player as a multi-sport athlete. One of his teammates, Elliott, also plays basketball but was on the sophomore team last season. Wasz was a 5-foot-9, 140-pound reserve guard for Lyons’ West Suburban Silver championship basketball team last season.
In the fall, he was a wide receiver and defensive back for the football team.
Wasz placed third in the West Suburban Silver meet May 14.
“It’s funny for me being a three-sport athlete,” Wasz said. “Most kids only play tennis. I usually start off the season not too great. I’m getting better and better.”
Like Elliott, Wasz grew up playing tennis together at the LaGrange Country Club. The two even got together to play in a few U.S. Tennis Association tournaments before high school.
Wasz’s favorite sport is the one he’s currently playing, he said.
“Football and basketball are all on the team,” Wasz said. “Tennis is a team sport, but it’s really more on individuals. You have to depend on yourself.”
Wasz didn’t begin playing football until the eighth grade, but always remembers having a tennis racket around growing up. The hard part about the offseason is that often football and basketball take up most of his time during the summer.
“What I don’t like about basketball is that it has the longest season, by far,” Wasz said.
Wasz isn’t able to predict just how well he will do in the state tournament. The pairings for the tournament were expected to be released Tuesday.
“I’ll take it like all my other matches,” Wasz said. “At the beginning, I might be nervous. Once I’m into it, I’ll be fine.”