Kernel boys prepare for Class AA state tennis tournament
Mitchell moves up to the Class AA level for the 2023 tournament, where Sioux Falls Lincoln is a huge team favorite once again
SIOUX FALLS — The Class AA state boys tennis tournament arrives on Thursday morning and Mitchell High School will jump into the fray to compete for a top finish in the team scoring and individual brackets.
Mitchell was third a season ago in the team scoring while competing in Class A but now moved up to Class AA with its enrollment, while Class A champion Yankton has also moved up to Class AA alongside the Kernels. They jump into the division where powerhouse Sioux Falls Lincoln stands as a huge favorite for its ninth consecutive state boys tennis championship.
Mitchell’s Zach Fuhrer and Matthew Mauszycki are the highest seeded singles players ahead of the state tournament. Fuhrer, a junior, is 15-4 this season in seeded matches and will have the No. 4 seed at Flight 6, while Mauszycki, a freshman, is set to be seeded fifth at Flight 5 with a 12-8 record. (As of Wednesday, the seeds are unofficial until they are officially set at the coaches’ seeding meeting.)
Other Kernel seeds include Drake Jerke as a No. 7 seed with a 13-8 record at Flight 4, Levi Loken seeded No. 9 at Flight 3 with a 12-12 record, Jager Juracek is seeded eighth at Flight 2 with a 15-10 mark on the season. Luke Jerke is seeded 10th as a sophomore with an 11-13 record at Flight 1, coming off a pair of Class A state titles in 2021 and 2022 at Flight 6.
In the doubles brackets, Luke Jerke and Jager Juracek are seeded 10th at Flight 1, bringing in a 9-14 record. At Flight 2, Drake Jerke and Levi Loken had a 13-5 record during the season and are seeded fifth this week, while Zach Fuhrer and Matthew Mauszycki are seeded fifth at Flight 3 with a record of 9-7.
Rocky McKenzie, a junior for Sioux Falls Lincoln, is 17-0 against Class AA competition and will carry the No. 1 seed into the Flight 1 singles bracket. He was the state champion last season at Flight 2 and part of the winning pair at Flight 1 doubles. The Patriots have the top seed in each of the six singles flights; in addition to McKenzie, the Patriots have undefeated Drew Gohl at Flight 2, River McKenzie at Flight 3 and Arthur Tao at Flight 4.
Returning singles flight champions from last season include O’Gorman’s Will Koziara, who won Flight 5 in 2022 as an eighth-grader and Sioux Falls Washington’s Harold Mayer at Flight 6 as a freshman. Koziara has moved up to Flight 3 where he’s seeded No. 2, while Mayer is the No. 2 seed in singles Flight 1. Mayer and Chase Rima, then a seventh-grader, won the Flight 3 doubles title for Washington.
Jacob Morgans, who teamed up with his since-graduated brother Noah to win at Flight 2 in 2022, has moved up with Rima to Flight 1 doubles for Washington, where they are seeded No. 3.
Sioux Falls Lincoln won the 2022 Class AA boys team title with 539.5 points, with Sioux Falls Washington in second place with 522 points and O’Gorman in third at 402 points.
The state tournament moves to a new location outdoors at Sioux Falls’ newly built complex at Tomar Park, which has 12 courts located near Yankton Trail Park off Interstate 229. On Thursday, Flights 1-3 singles and all three doubles flights will play at Tomar Park, while Flight 4-6 singles play will take place at McKennan Park and Lincoln High School. Each flight will be a 14-person bracket and play will begin at 8 a.m. on Thursday and Friday, with all action at Tomar Park on Friday.