Mitchell High School boys tennis falters late, finishes fourth at ESD tournament
The Mitchell High School was in second place following singles play at the Eastern South Dakota Conference boys tennis tournament Tuesday, but faded down the stretch to finish fourth.
HARRISBURG -- The Mitchell High School was in second place following singles play at the Eastern South Dakota Conference boys tennis tournament Tuesday, but faded down the stretch to finish fourth.
The Kernels finished with 180 points, 17 behind third-place Harrisburg. Brandon Valley rolled to the win with 275 points, while second-place Huron totaled 201.5 points. Yankton was fifth with 147 points.
Mitchell did not win a singles or doubles championship, but won five of its six first-round matches and reached the finals three times. But in doubles play, fortunes changed as the Kernels dropped two matches in the first round.
“It was kind of a disappointing finish to the ESD tournament, but what a competitive field,” MHS head coach Pat Moller said. “Every match could go either way. We had some No. 1 seeds that went down and No. 2 seeds that went down. There were a lot of equally matched teams in players and hopefully we’re in a better spot for the state tournament.”
Tyler Loecker scored a pair of 10-4 victories over Pierre’s Blake Judson and Aberdeen Central’s Zach Gonsor, respectively, to start the tournament. He would eventually fall to Brandon Valley’s Landon Kocer in the Flight 2 finals, 10-2.
Aidan Patrick also reached the finals at Flight 3 singles, defeating Huron’s Roger Puterbaugh 11-9 and then topping Harrisburg’s Alex Rallis 10-4 in the semifinals. Patrick eventually succumbed to Brandon Valley’s Tanner Schultz, 10-6, in the finals.
Luke Jerke won back-to-back 10-6 matches to start the day at Flight 6 singles, taking down Huron’s Lay Kpaw Wah in the first round and Watertown’s Evan Meester in the semifinals. Brandon Valley’s Cole Murray won the championship match 10-5.
Macon Larson took third at Flight 1, rebounding from a 10-7 semifinal loss to Yankton’s Gage Becker to beat Aberdeen Central’s Gabe Goetz 8-1 in the third-place match.
Larson and Loecker dropped a 10-2 first-round match to Pierre’s Matthew Hanson and Blake Judson and finished sixth at Flight 1 doubles. Patrick and Connor Thelen lost a 10-3 first-round match to Aberdeen Central’s Ian Ahlber and Lincoln Wilkinson before finishing sixth at Flight 2 doubles. Cameron Miller and Drake Jerke finished third at Flight 3 doubles.
“We were at or above seed in singles in every flight,” Moller said. “Aidan Patrick had a heck of a tournament. He was the seventh seed and ended up getting second place. I thought if we could hang on in singles, I liked our chances in doubles. Doubles came around and we just didn’t perform the way I hoped we would.”
Mitchell now moves on to the Class A state tournament May 17-18 at Kuehn Park and McKennan Park in Sioux Falls.