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Boys tennis: Minnewaska has a tough draw at state

May 31—MINNEAPOLIS — A tough task is at hand for the Minnewaska boys tennis team in the Class A state tournament.

The Lakers play the top-seeded St. Paul Academy Spartans in the Class A quarterfinals at 8 a.m. Tuesday at the Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center.

"It's an honor to go down there and compete, obviously with some really, really good teams like Breck and St. Paul Academy," Minnewaska senior Connor Quelle said. "Those teams have gone (to state) forever."

The Lakers finished No. 7 in the final Class A regular season rankings by the Minnesota Tennis Coaches Association. St. Paul Academy, which is fresh off back-to-back state titles, was No. 1.

"We just got to give it our all and see what happens," Minnewaska head coach Tara Reichmann said. "That's a pretty tough draw for us.

"They've historically been a very good tennis team, so I'm expecting them to be pretty powerful."

The Lakers enter the state meet behind a bevy of youth. Seven of the 10 players in its lineup are underclassmen.

Quelle, the lone senior, and juniors Tenzin Dahl and Riley Thorfinnson make up Minnewaska's triad of upperclassmen.

Then there are sophomore Drew Bleick, freshmen Tyler Kohn, Marshall Kopp, Carter LeClair and Landon Schiffler and eighth-graders Xavier Johnson and Carson Beyer.

"We're very young," Reichmann said. "I knew it would be a big enough challenge for our team to win our section. Now that we have, it's just a fun experience for them.

"I think they'll gain a lot from being (at state) and seeing what the (skill) level is of these other teams.

Reichmann hopes the state appearance will help drive her bevy of youth in what is a bright outlook for the future.

"I'm not really putting high expectations on the kids because I know they're young," Reichmann said. "They're just going to enjoy themselves because they're young and energetic.

"Hopefully it motivates them to continue to work hard and get better in the future."

Minnewaska's appearance comes as its second in program history. The first came when the school was in a co-op with Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa in 2022 when Minnewaska/BBE placed sixth in the Class A state tournament.

The only two players in Minnewaska/BBE's lineup were Quelle and Dahl. They will look to help lead the Lakers to better results this time around.

"We're very confident, but we do know that these teams are very competitive," Quelle said. "We're going to fight our hardest."

Montevideo has also itched its name into the Class A state tournament.

The Thunder Hawks match up against third-seeded Mound-Westonka at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center.

"We're confident and we're excited," Montevideo senior Talan Brock said

. "It should be a good time. Hopefully we can do well."

Montevideo finished outside the top 10 in the final Class A regular season rankings by the Minnesota Tennis Coaches Association. The White Hawks settled in at No. 8.

Neither the Thunder Hawks or Mound-Westonka has ever won a state title.

"It's just really exciting," Montevideo senior Simon Fitzkappes said

. "I'm just really proud of all these guys. It's been a lot of fun."

There are three singles players and two doubles teams heading to the Class A state tournament.

Individual competition is set to begin at 8 a.m. for singles and 10 a.m. for doubles on Thursday at the Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center.

The three singles players are Litchfield's Lincoln Dille, Montevideo's Fitzkappes and New London-Spicer's Jowell Gamez.

Dille and Fitzkappes square off in the opening round of state. Gamez plays Cloquet's Ethan Lavan, who is the fourth seed in the bracket.

The two doubles teams are Benson/Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg's Harold Habben and Max Young and Minnewaska's Bleick and LeClair.

Habben and Young play St. Paul Academy's Leo Benson and Maik Nguyen, who drew the top seed and are the defending state champions for Class A doubles.

Bleick and LeClair face off against Providence Academy's Gary Speier and Louie Wehmann in the round of 16.

Q1: 1-St. Paul Academy vs. Minnewaska, 8 a.m.

Q2: 4-Cotter vs. 5-Rock Ridge, 10 a.m.

Q3: 2-Breck vs. Foley, noon

Q4: 3-Mound-Westonka vs. Montevideo, 2 p.m.

CS1: Loser of Q1 and Q2, 4 p.m.

CS2: Loser of Q3 and Q4, 6 p.m.

WS1: Winner of Q1 and Q2, 8 a.m.

WS2: Winner of Q3 and Q4, 10 a.m.

Fifth place: Winner of CS1 and CS2, noon

Third place: Loser of WS1 and WS2, 2 p.m.

Championship: Winner of WS1 and WS2, 4 p.m.