Charlie Fair put in the time over the offseason in preparation to become Dubuque Wahlert’s new No. 1, and time and time again throughout the 2019 season he proved he deserved it.
Wahlert’s standout sophomore played a pivotal role in helping the Golden Eagles to a record 10th state championship last season as a freshman, and he only got better this season. Fair won a singles district championship, placed fourth at the state tournament and helped Wahlert win a city title despite graduating the house from that title team.
The drive and determination of Fair was on display all season, and he fronts the inaugural Telegraph Herald All-Area boys tennis team of the area’s top six players, designed as a traditional singles tennis lineup with honorable mentions.
No. 1 Charlie Fair (Wahlert)
Fair was the lone underclassmen in the starting lineup of Wahlert’s state championship team from last season, playing at No. 3. He vaulted to the top of the lineup this year and was tough to beat with powerful shots and pristine placements of the ball. Fair finished the season with an 18-6 overall record at No. 1 singles, an amazing .750 winning percentage with most matches coming in the Mississippi Valley Conference. A hamstring injury held Fair to a fourth-place finish at state singles, and he’ll no doubt work in the offseason to try and improve that standing next spring.
No. 2 Luke Althaus (Hempstead)
Perhaps the biggest surprise of this list, Althaus rose through the ranks of the Mustangs program and became an elite No. 1 in a deep lineup. He played No. 5 as a freshman and was No. 2 last year, but his junior campaign is where Althaus became one of the top players in the area. His only area loss was to Charlie Fair, and he fronted a renaissance of the Hempstead program this spring that ended in the substate final, just a win shy of state.
No. 3 Dylan Fair (Senior)
In his second straight season at No. 1 singles, Fair continued to answer the call for the Rams. His sophomore year ended with a third-place finish at districts to be a state alternate and he helped guide Senior to the substate final, where its season closed just a win shy of the state tournament. The Rams’ roster was again all underclassmen, and Fair will look to push this young team to another level next spring.
No. 4 Casey Perrenoud (Western Dubuque)Tasked with the No. 1 spot as the Bobcats ventured into the MVC for the first time, Perrenoud played a vital role in WD earning four league victories this spring, which included a tight 5-4 victory over Senior late in the season. Only a junior, Perrenoud used his strong arm to challenge opponents in-between playing for the Dubuque County American Legion baseball team. Perrenoud is an ace pitcher for the Bobcats in the summer.
No. 5 Charlie Vandermillen (Wahlert)
The Golden Eagles graduated seven of their top eight players from last season, and Vandermillen made the biggest leap for Wahlert. The junior earned the No. 2 position and was a key cog in the Eagles returning to the state tournament. Vandermillen tested his opponents with not only a slick game but an A-level tennis grunt for a prep. No one brought the intensity like ‘Vandy.’
No. 6 Josh Husemann (Senior)
Another underclassmen for the Rams, Husemann played reliable tennis at No. 2 for Senior and teamed with Julian Nemmers at No. 1 doubles, finishing third at districts to be a state tournament alternate. Husemann, a junior, actually teamed with three different players in doubles throughout the season, with the one constant being the sound play of Husemann.
Isaac Johnson (Hempstead), Jack Kolker (Hempstead), Andrew Evans (Wahlert), Julian Nemmers (Senior), Colton Witthoft (WD), Kaleb Flenker (Maquoketa).