Kolinski sets tennis record at AHS
By Murray Gleffe
ASHWAUBENON-Four years ago Kole Kolinski made a decision that would change his life.
He decided to come to Ashwaubenon High School as an open enroll student from Kewaunee, a 70-mile roundtrip.
“My dad (Kris) had been coaching the Kewaunee tennis team for a number of years, “ said Kolinski. “However, the administration didn’t know if the program would continue during my high school years. I talked it over with my parents and knew I wanted to leave Kewaunee for a different school.”
Kewaunee and Ashwaubenon are two completely different places.
Kewaunee is a small fishing town on the shore of Lake Michigan that sometimes can be 20 to 25 degrees cooler on a summer day, and Ashwaubenon is a brimming village that shares its border with the Green Bay Packers.
Through summer sports, Kole befriended a fellow athlete in Max White who was a year ahead of Kole in school and ironically attended Ashwaubenon.
“I wanted a place where I could get challenged in tennis and the FRCC provided that place,” Kolinski said. “I felt like if I could get into the school, I would place myself in a position to get a great education, but also be able to play tennis at the next level (college) if I performed well.”
Kolinski was accepted to Ashwaubenon in the summer of 2015 and shortly after, his sports journey took off.
The commute was made easier by the fact that his mom Gina works on the east side of Green Bay.
Kole took to the tennis courts in the spring of 2016 and hit the ground running.
“I had played a number of high level junior tournaments,” added Kolinski. “You don’t know though coming in as a first player where you’re going to fit into a high-powered team like we had.”
Not only did Kolinski qualify individually at the top spot in doubles with partner Brad Tschoeke, but the Jaguars qualified for team state.
Kolinski finished his inaugural season at 24-6. It was capped off with a come-from-behind victory versus Kettle Moraine in Madison.
“To be able to go to state twice in tennis during my first year of high school was just unreal,” Kolinski said. “I met so many great friends and fellow teammates. It allowed me to settle down and know that I belonged at the school.”
Kolinski changed doubles partners and teamed with David Clark his next two years, but the end result remained the same.
Two more state appearances and a 38-10 record.
Heading into his senior season, Kolinski was told by tennis coach Scott Conradt that he was one state tournament away from setting a new record at the school.
The Ashwaubenon Jaguars tennis program was in its 30th year of existence, having started in the 1988-89 season.
“I honestly didn’t even think about it before it was brought up to me,” Kolinski said. “It added some more pressure, but I wanted to play for the success of the team.”
Playing with a third partner in his four years, Kolinski and Colin Chapman accomplished a 20 plus win season and won their first-round match at Sectionals to put Kolinski into the 2018 WIAA State Tournament.
“After we knocked off West De Pere to qualify, I was relieved,” said Kolinski. “My parents, teammates, and coaches all congratulated me on the accomplishment.
Kolinski came to Ashwaubenon four years ago and left leaving his mark on the tennis program.
On June 6, 2018 Kolinski was named Athlete of the Year at the sports banquet Ashwaubenon hosted.
He will bring his tennis game to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire where he will play for coach Tom Gillman.
“Thank you to all the people that have supported me at AHS,” Kolinski said. “I couldn’t have done it without you guys. The time went by so fast. I am super excited to start college and continue my tennis journey.”
Kole Kolinski Ashwaubenon Jaguars Final Tennis Stats
· 2015- 24-6-Individual State (first round), team state winner, first team all-conference
· 2016- 18-6-Individual State (first round), sectional finalist, first team all-conference
· 2017- 20-4-Individual State (second round), first team all-conference, doubles team of the year
· 2018- 21-5-Individual State (second round), sectional finalist, first team all-conference