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MHS boys tennis team hungry for more success

There's no looking back for the Mitchell High School boys tennis team. After four straight Eastern South Dakota Conference titles and five consecutive top-five finishes at the state meet, including a fifth-place finish last year, the Kernels aren...

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Mitchell's Adam Loes returns a serve while competing in No. 2 doubles action with teammate Jared Suelflow during a match last year. (Matt Gade / Republic)

There's no looking back for the Mitchell High School boys tennis team.

After four straight Eastern South Dakota Conference titles and five consecutive top-five finishes at the state meet, including a fifth-place finish last year, the Kernels aren't satisfied. They are hungry for more.

And with seven letterwinners and six seniors, the bar as a high as ever.

"Seniors make really good tennis players," MHS coach Pat Moller said. "It's been a lot of fun. You see the confidence and the maturity. The kids know what they have in front of them and they've came ready to play."

Unfortunately, Mother Nature has made it difficult for the Kernels to get their season going. Before this week, Moller said Mitchell had only one day of practice outside and that delayed getting the lineup set.

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Battling for spots have been seniors Carter Cavanaugh, Jared Suelflow, Adam Loes, Baley Miller, Alex Bergeson and sophomores Kade Clark and Ryan Bergeson.

Miller and Clark, competing in Flight 5 and 6 a year ago, respectively, each placed third at state last year. Cavanaugh took fifth at Flight 2 and Suelflow finished fifth in Flight 3. Loes took seventh.

On Wednesday, the Kernels lineup was set with Suelflow earning the Flight 1 spot and Cavanaugh taking Flight 2. Loes will compete in Flight 3, Miller in Flight 4, Clark in Flight 5 and Ryan Bergeson in Flight 6.

The doubles pairings will be Suelflow and Cavanaugh in Flight 1, Loes and Miller in Flight 2 and Alex Bergeson and Garrett Johnson in Flight 3. Miller and Alex Bergeson finished Flight 3 doubles in third place last year.

"Our doubles looks really good one through three," Moller said, noting all six seniors are playing doubles. "We have some really good doubles teams. We'll be strong in singles, but we will have a chance at being some of the best doubles teams in the state, if everything comes together."

Around the state, four-time defending state champion Sioux Falls Lincoln will be the team to beat. Moller noted the Patriots lost standout Kaleb Dobbs, who is now playing at the University of Minnesota, but return his brother Sam Dobbs, who will be one of the top singles players.

Moller listed Sioux Falls O'Gorman, Rapid City Stevens and the Kernels as teams looking to knock off the Patriots.

"Lincoln's a little more vulnerable then they've been in the past," Moller said. "All four of those teams I'd put at the top and hopefully we're not fourth on that list."

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Mitchell opens its season against Rapid City Central and Pierre in a triangular on Tuesday in Pierre. The state tournament is slated for May 17-19 in Rapid City.

Related Topics: KERNELSBOYS TENNISTENNIS
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