Susanna Hundt took sixth place at the state girls tennis meet as a freshman at Chesterton Academy of Milwaukee. (Photo by Larry Hanson)

After finishing sixth in singles at the WIAA Division 2 State Tennis Tournament, Chesterton Academy of Milwaukee freshman Susanna Hundt knew exactly where she stood in relation to the five girls who finished ahead of her.

State champion Angela Wang, a sophomore at University School of Milwaukee, will be moving up to Division 1 next season. The other four are seniors.

“It’s definitely more pressure, but I won’t worry about that too much,” said Hundt, who travels from her family’s home in Elm Grove to the school in Menomonee Falls.

More miles were added during the fall season because she was only the player from Chesterton on her co-op team with St. Joan Antida, Milwaukee.

Jeff Mrochinski is the athletic director at St. Joan Antida and serves as the girls tennis coach for the Jaguars. Chesterton Athletic Director Tammy Streitmatter approached Mrochinski, indicating she had a freshman who was interested in tennis and wondering if he would be interested in a co-op arrangement.

“The Hundts were excited about the opportunity from the start and actually saw the ethnic and socio-economic diversity of our program as a positive opportunity for Susanna,” Mrochinski said. “Peter and Ashley Hundt, Susanna’s parents, were incredibly supportive through the whole season. It was startling how smooth the transition was from a social perspective with Susanna and her SJA teammates. I honestly believe our shared Catholic faith and Christian values allowed our players, coaches and families to become a uniquely bonded team.”

She said the St. Joan players accepted her from the start.

“It was honestly really fun,” Hundt said. “They’re very different, but they’re very fun and loud. They’re going to say whatever they think, whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing.”

“I was slightly worried about being accepted, but it wasn’t a problem at all,” Hundt said.

“I have been blessed as a coach in that Susanna has utilized her God-given talents to model and teach her teammates tennis tactics and skills in order to improve their games too,” Mrochinski said. “The way Susanna has bonded with her teammates has been awesome, and it has worked out as well as me and the rest of the coaching staff could have imagined. One of the most rewarding aspects of the season was to hear Susanna’s teammates screaming and cheering for her at the state tournament to the point they were hoarse at the end of the day.”

Hundt said the atmosphere was so different at the state tournament, with all the cheering and screaming, that it took a full match to get used to it.

Mrochinski has coached high school tennis for 23 years, winning state team titles at Catholic Memorial High School for boys (2021) and girls (2019); he also served as an assistant coach for 10 years at Marquette University High School while the Hilltoppers were collecting seven team championships.

Because Hundt wasn’t a regular on the USTA youth circuit in recent years, she kind of flew under the radar, but Mrochinski had spoken with Scott Carson, the Director of Tennis at Western Racquet Club, last spring. Carson said she was a strong player, so Mrochinski got on the phone, trying to line up opponents that would test Hundt and prepare her for the state tournament.

In her first match of the season, Hundt defeated a two-time state qualifier 6-0, 6-0.

“In one of the last matches of the season, Susanna defeated a 2022 state medalist 6-3, 6-1, which made us all believe she could do something special if she qualified for the state tournament,” Mrochinski said.

Hundt finished the season 23-3, winning three of her five matches at the state tournament.

“Susanna surprised everyone all season since she was not well-known in the high school tennis scene,” Mrochinski said. “I told her now she is ‘on the map,’ and people will start sharing notes on how to play against her. I know Susanna will handle being known very well. Susanna’s toughest match at state was actually her first match, since she was playing in a situation that was new to her with the crowds and the expectations. Susanna played better and stronger with each match after that first-round win, and her confidence grew each day. I think Susanna likes the expectations that will be on her. This may sound funny, but I think it makes it more interesting for her and motivates her to prepare and improve in the off-season.”