Kernel boys tennis finishes third at state meet in Rapid City
Luke Jerke claims second-straight singles bracket title
RAPID CITY – The Mitchell High School boys tennis placed third after Day Two of the Class A state tournament on Tuesday evening at Sioux Park.
After having a perfect opening day of competition through the nine flights of action, Mitchell ran into tougher competition in pursuit of a state championship. Nevertheless, it was Mitchell’s best state boys tennis meet finish since 2016.
The highlight of the day was the Kernels’ Luke Jerke, who secured his second straight Flight 6 singles state title. The freshman capped his 28-1 season with a three-set, come-from-behind victory over Yankton’s Miles Krajewski (3-6, 7-5, 10-2) in the championship.
But individual state championships proved hard to come by for the Kernels. who had one second-place finish and three third-place finishes in singles play, along with a second-place finish in Flight 1 doubles and a third-place finish in Flight 2 doubles, allowing the Bucks and Comets to pass the Kernels in the standings after a 12.5-point lead through the first day.
Tyler Loecker had a runner-up finish in Flight 2 singles, taking down Pierre’s Blake Judson 6-3, 6-3 in the semifinals, but fell to Sioux Falls Christian’s Daniel Puumala in a tough three-set match 5-7, 6-4, 10-7 for the flight title.
Aidan Patrick posted a third-place finish in Flight 3 singles as he lost Rapid City Christian’s Andrew Dobbs 6-3, 6-3 in the semifinal, but beat Sioux Falls Christian’s Jadon Munson 10-4 in the third-place match.
Josh Grosdidier ended up in the third-place match of Flight 5 singles, after losing to Pierre’s Spencer Kelly 6-4, 6-4. Grosdidier managed to beat Rapid City Christian’s Noah Geyer 10-7 to secure third-place bragging rights.
In doubles action, Mitchell’s top pairing of Macon Larson and Loecker earned a 10-9 (3) victory over the No. 2-seeded pairing from Rapid City Christian Noah Greni and Joe Schneller to reach the Flight 1 doubles championship. In a match even tighter than the semifinal round, Larson and Loecker ultimately fell to Yankton’s Gage Becker and Zachary Briggs 10-9 (5).
Despite losing in the semifinal round of Flight 2 doubles to Rapid City Christian’s Andrew Dobbs and Jack Hancock 10-9(6), Aidan Patrick and Drake Jerke redeemed themselves with a 8-5 win in the third-place match over Pierre’s Spencer Kelly and Luke Leingang.
The Kernels improved on their fourth-place finish from a year ago, while the Bucks closed out the state championship after a second-place finish last year. Mitchell is expected to move to Class AA next season for tennis, making this the final campaign in Class A.
South Dakota Class A state tennis meet
Sioux Park in Rapid City
1. Yankton 493. 5, 2. RC Christian 422.5, 3. Mitchell 397.5, 4. SF Christian 312, 5. Pierre 282.5, 6. Lennox 240, 7. Huron 178, 8. Aberdeen Roncalli 140, 9. Spearfish 89, 10. Madison 78.5, 11. Milbank 78, 12. Vermillion 15.5, 13. St. Thomas More 12.
Tuesday’s Mitchell results
No. 1: Noah Greni (RCH) def. Macon Larson (M) 6-1, 7-5; Jaxon Plank (LEN) def. Larson (M) 10-2. FOURTH PLACE.
No. 2: Tyler Loecker (M) def. Blake Judson (PIE) 6-3, 6-3; Daniel Puumala (SFC) def. Loecker (M) 5-7, 6-4, 10-7. SECOND PLACE.
No. 3: Andrew Dobbs (RCH) def. Aidan Patrick (M) 6-3, 6-3; Patrick (M) def. Jadon Munson (SFC) 10-4. THIRD PLACE.
No. 4: Luke Leingang (PIE) def. Jack Vermeulen (M) 6-0, 5-7, 10-8; Jack Hancock (RCH) def. Vermeulen (M) 10-2. FOURTH PLACE.
No. 5: Spencer Kelly (PIE) def. Josh Grosdidier (M) 6-4, 6-4; Grosdidier (M) def. Noah Geyer (RCH) 10-7. THIRD PLACE.
No. 6: Luke Jerke (M) def. Carter Schulz (PIE) 6-1, 6-2; Jerke (M) def. Miles Krajewski (YAN) 3-6, 7-5, 10-2. FIRST PLACE.
No. 1: Macon Larson/Tyler Loecker (M) def. Noah Greni/Joe Schneller (RCH) 10-9(3); Gage Becker/Zachary Briggs (YAN) def. Larson/Loecker (M) 10-9(5). SECOND PLACE.
No. 2: Andrew Dobbs/Jack Hancock (RCH) def. Aidan Patrick/Drake Jerke (M) 10-9(6); Patrick/Jerke (M) def. Spencer Kelly/Luke Leingang (PIE) 8-5. THIRD PLACE.
No. 3: James Woodward/Aidan Ligtenberg (SFC) def. Jack Vermeulen/Connor Thelen (M) 7-5, 7-6(5); Noah Geyer/Henry Beckloff (RCH) def. Vermeulen/Thelen (M) 8-5. FOURTH PLACE.