Boys tennis takes State

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Boys tennis takes State

photo courtesy of Michael Cartwright

photo courtesy of Michael Cartwright

photo courtesy of Michael Cartwright

Persis Ke, Managing Editor

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On June 4, the boys tennis team’s season culminated with the ultimate cherry-on-top: a state championship title.

After a disappointing quarterfinal loss the previous season, the team had high hopes for the 2014-2015 season.

“My expectations were either coming close to win the State Tournament or winning the State Tournament,” said Jake Trondson, 12.

To achieve their goal of a state title, the team knew they had to improve both individually and as a team.

“The thing we most focused on improving was our intensity and practice vigor,” said Sam Hohenshell, 12. “We had the talent, but our team was sidetracked easily. Sometimes practices would be a bit too casual and that would transfer into a sloppy performance at our next match.”

The extra work paid off. After going 19-1 during the regular season, the team was ranked number one heading into the playoffs.

In the first round, Mounds View had a dominating 6-1 win over Cretin-Derham Hall, setting up a semifinal match against Rochester Century High School.

“Rochester Century… was a very good, undefeated team,” said Coach Michael Cartwright. “We had to overcome the challenge of that team, which was really on fire for the State Tournament.”

After another 6-1 win, the team faced Elk River High School in the championship game.

“We had beaten Elk River earlier in the year, but they had gone doubles strong against us,” said Cartwright. “In the State championship match, they went singles strong, so we had to respond to that.”

Trondson added, “The finals were a lot of pressure. Our team was really scared about finding the right lineup and not making any mistakes like we have in the past.”

Mounds View swept the doubles points but lost three singles matches. The final singles match, played by eighth-grader Petro Alexakis, was the deciding game.

“The finals were actually supposed to be a bit of a blowout, but an upset at three singles left us at a 3-3 tie and it came down to our fourth singles,” said Hohenshell. “I had extreme confidence in Petro, as throughout the season he had proven himself to be a player who thrived under pressure and excitement. However, I couldn’t help but worry that Elk River would pull off another upset.”

After Alexakis’s 6-3, 6-3 victory, the team rushed onto the court.

“Running onto the court after match point was probably the highlight of my athletic career,” said Hohenshell. “Our entire team played five to six days a week year-round, and for us to be rewarded for years of hard work with a state championship and basically reaching the pinnacle of high school athletics was the best thing that could have happened to us.”

The team will look to repeat this year, but the title run will not be without its difficulties.

“We lost our second and third singles players, and we lost half of our doubles players, so we have to reload at both the doubles and the singles,” said Cartwright. “The new players coming in have to have the same attitude and consistency and aggressiveness as the people we lost.”

This article is additionally set to be printed in Issue 1, which will be released on September 25. Pick up your copy in your English class!

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