Chi-Hi junior David Arneberg has two big check marks next to his goals so far this season.
First he wanted to pick up a victory when the Cardinals faced perennial Big Rivers Conference powerhouse Eau Claire Memorial.
He also wanted to advance to the WIAA state tennis meet in Madison.
After his performance last week, he added that other check.
Arneberg is heading down to this week’s state tournament after going 2-1 and advancing out of sectionals last Wednesday at Eau Claire.
He is also the first Chi-Hi singles player to make the tournament since Brian Miller qualified as a freshman in 2003. Miller made the next three tournaments as a doubles player.
“In David we have a really credible state qualifier who could go deep into the tournament, so we’re hoping for the best out of that,” Chi-Hi coach Russ Borman said.
Arneberg (15-4 overall record on the season) punched his ticket to Madison with an opening-round win over Quentin Lamars of La Crosse Logan 6-0, 6-1. Arneberg and Lamars squared off a few weeks earlier at an invite in Eau Claire, but the score was much closer. The second time around Arneberg put plenty of distance on his opponent.
“In April (matchup) I broke my strings on my good racket during warmups so I got kind of out of it a little bit and he was playing good that day,” Arneberg said. “At the sectionals I was just really on that day. I was serving really well and I think he was a little surprised at how much better I was that day. I was just really focused.”
As a player in the No. 1 singles flight, Arneberg needed to win his matchup to Lamars to go to state. It was all he was focused on and when he was victorious he was understandably excited.
“It was just pure joy, I was just happy and smiling,” Arneberg said of his reaction to winning.
“It’s been the goal for a while to get to state. I had heard about Brian Miller, a while ago he went to state. It’s a big deal. It hasn’t totally hit me yet full on but I think once I get down there I’ll realize what has actually happened.”
Arneberg followed his win over Lamars up with a 1-6, 1-6 loss to Hudson’s Mark Johnson before finishing the day with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Luis Crego of Onalaska. Both Johnson and Crego are joining Arneberg at the state tournament. Arneberg opens up his state tournament on Thursday morning at 10:30 a.m. with a matchup against Waukesha South’s Sawyer Dargiewicz (13-17). If he’s victorious in his opening match, Arneberg would be back in action later in the day at 6 p.m. against West De Pere’s Nick Dykema (27-2).
Arneberg’s trip to state was a goal of his and certainly was a realistic one in the mind of his coach.
Last year David and his older brother Jasper were gone attending the Air Force graduation of their brother Ben during sectionals. Borman was confident both Arneberg’s would’ve had a good chance to advance to state last year, so he’s excited that David is getting the opportunity this year.
“He’s a very talented individual and very well deserving of the honor and privilege of getting there (to state),” Borman said.
To prepare for the state tournament, Arneberg is going to get plenty of practice on the tennis courts with teammate and fellow sectional qualifier Mitchell Paukner as they work on tweaking his game for his tournament opener.
“I still need to improve my backhand and my serve,” Arneberg said.
Arneberg is 2-for-2 on his goals so far this season. A win at the state tournament could help him check off another accomplishment to his impressive resume.
“I’d like to win a match,” Arneberg said. “I think it would be a pretty big deal if I could do that. I got a good draw in the bracket so I think I have a good chance of winning my first match.”
“He’s just Class A all the way around,” Borman said of Arneberg. “He’s just a very personable, very goal-orientated, very calm, very confident, very even keel, even mannered, very athletic,” Borman said. “He’s just the whole package, he’s what everybody would hope to get in all their athletes.”