Before the start of his junior year, Ryan Long made the decision to trade his tennis racquet for a golf club.

While he more than held his own last spring, it just wasn’t what he wanted.

So he swapped back, and last week Wednesday, Long became the first Ripon High School singles player to qualify for the state tennis tournament since Charlie Larson did it three-straight years from 1994 to ’96.

Long qualified for state at No. 1 singles by winning his first match at the East Troy Sectional against McFarland’s Tim Vallon 6-4, 6-1.

He ended up losing his final two contests of the sectional competition to Edgewood’s Patrick McKenna and Monroe’s Taylor Soddy to finish in fourth place.

The senior lost on a super-tie-breaker 3-10 to McKenna after splitting the first two sets 6-3, 1-6 and was defeated by Soddy 4-6, 0-6.

“I really enjoyed playing golf last year,” Long said. “It was a fun group of guys, but I think I belong on the tennis courts. As far as my decision to come back and play tennis, it was just the guys on the team really convincing me to go back out and helping them have a good season.

“[Making state] means that I have met my personal goals that I set for myself; I’ve always wanted to make it down to Madison and I got close my sophomore year. It is just really rewarding.”

Read the full story, which includes comments from Ripon head coach Jeff Mehlert, Long's road at the state tournament and information on how the other four Tiger sectional qualifiers fared, in the May 30, 2013 editon of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.

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