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Mitchell boys in first place after day one of state tennis

The Mitchell boys tennis team sits in first place with a 12.5-point lead after completing day one of the Class A state meet.

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Mitchell's Aidan Patrick returns a hit during No. 3 singles action on day one of the Class A state tournament on Monday, May 16, 2022 at Sioux Park.
Photo courtesy of Matt Gade / Rapid City Journal
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RAPID CITY — After day one of the Class A boys state tournament, Mitchell sits in first place, leading all teams with 300 points. Yankton and Rapid City Christian are tied for second place with 287.5 while Pierre is in fourth with 224 points and Sioux Falls Christian rounds out the top five with 214.5 points.

The senior-led group, which consists of five seniors in Flights 1 through 5 and freshman Luke Jerke in Flight 6, has swept all their first and second-round singles matches to advance to the semifinal round. The Kernels were also successful in each doubles match on day one, winning each match and not allowing one opponent to win more than three games in one set.

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Mitchell's Macon Larson returns a serve during No. 1 singles action on day one of the Class A state tournament on Monday, May 16, 2022 at Sioux Park.
Courtesy photo from Matt Gade

In Flight 1, Macon Larson beat Milbank’s Benett Street 6-0, 6-0 in the first round. He followed that performance up with a comeback victory against Sioux Falls Christian’s Landon Levenhagen 0-6, 6-2, 10-6. On day two of the tournament, Larson will face No. 1-seeded Noah Greni from Rapid City Christian. Greni recently beat Larson 10-2 on April 29 at the Rapid City Invitational.

After receiving a bye in Flight 2 singles, Tyler Loecker took down Huron’s Hay Klu Moo Taw in a tough 6-7(7-1), 6-3, 10-7 three-set match. Loecker will play Pierre’s Blake Judson on day two, which will be the fourth matchup between the two this season. Loecker has beaten Judson all three times, but their most recent match on May 10 during the Eastern South Dakota Conference meet was the closest all year. Loecker managed to outlast Judson 10-9(1).

In Flight 3, Aidan Patrick received a bye in the first round and beat Spearfish’s Bridger Meyer 6-3, 6-1 to advance to the semifinal. Patrick will face Rapid City Christian’s Andrew Dobbs in the semifinals, becoming the second matchup between the two this year. At the Rapid City Invitational on April 29, Patrick fell to Dobbs 10-6.

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Jack Vermeulen advanced to the semifinal round in Flight 4 during day one of the tournament, beating Vermillion’s Grant Freeling 6-1, 6-0 and outlasting Sioux Falls Christian’s Grant Santema 7-5, 4-6, 10-3. Vermeulen will play against Pierre’s Luke Leingang to begin day two. These two split the season series 1-1, as Vermeulen picked up a 10-9(3) win back on April 5 and Leingang rebounded with a 10-6 win during a quadrangular at Hitchcock Park on May 2.

Josh Grosdidier, Mitchell’s Flight 5 singles player, received a bye in the first round and had a convincing 6-0, 6-2 victory in the second round against Milbank’s Will Snaza to reach the semifinals. Grosdidier will prepare to face Pierre’s Spencer Kelly, whom he’s had success against this season. Grosdidier beat Kelly 10-8 on April 5, 10-3 on May 2 and most recently 8-1 on May 10 at the Eastern South Dakota Conference meet.

Freshman and reigning Class A state champion Luke Jerke had a bye in the first round and cruised to a 6-1, 6-1 win in the second round against Aberdeen Roncalli’s Gannon May. Jerke will play Pierre’s Carter Schulz in the semifinals to begin day two of the state meet. The two have played one another three times this season, all in favor of Jerke, including a 10-1 victory at the ESD meet on May 10.

In doubles play, each flight for the Kernels received a bye in the first round and they all were deemed victorious in the second round, not allowing an opponent to win more than three games in one set. Flight 1 partners Larson and Loecker defeated Pierre’s Matthew Hanson and Blake Judson 6-3, 6-2 in the quarterfinal round. No. 2 doubles partners Patrick and Drake Jerke beat Spearfish’s Ty Sieber and Rudy Isburg 6-3, 6-3 in the second round while Flight 3 doubles partners Vermeulen and Connor Thelen took down Pierre’s Devin Dodson and Crew Heier 6-3, 6-2.

South Dakota State Tennis Tournament
Day 1 - Monday at Rapid City
Team scores (top 10): 1. Mitchell 300, 2. RC Christian 287.5, 3. Yankton 287.5, 4. Pierre 224, 5. SF Christian 214.5 6. Lennox 175.5, 7. Huron 164.5, 8. Aberdeen Roncalli 135.5, 9. Spearfish 78, 10. Milbank 73.5.

Mitchell individual results:
Singles: No. 1 - Macon Larson: First round: Larson def. Benett Street, MIL, 6-0, 6-0; second round: Larson def. Landon Levenhagen, SFC, 0-6, 6-2, 10-6; No. 2 - Tyler Loecker: First round: bye; second round: Loecker def. Hay Klu Moo Taw, HUR, 6-7 (7-1), 6-3, 10-7; No. 3 - Aidan Patrick: First round: bye; second round: Patrick def. Bridger Meyer, SPE, 6-3, 6-1; No. 4 - Jack Vermeulen: First round: Vermeulen def. Grant Freeling, VER, 6-1, 6-0; second round: Vermeulen def. Grant Santema, SFC, 7-5, 4-6, 10-3; No. 5 - Josh Grosdidier: First round: bye; second round: Grosdidier def. Will Snaza, MIL, 6-0, 6-2; No. 6 - Luke Jerke: First round: bye; second round: Jerke def. Gannon May, ABR, 6-1, 6-1.

Doubles: No. 1 - Larson/Loecker: First round: bye; second round: Larson/Loecker def. Hanson/Judson, PIE, 6-3, 6-2; No. 2 - Patrick/Drake Jerke: First round: bye; second round: Patrick/Drake Jerke def. Sieber/Isburg, SPE, 6-3, 6-3; No. 3 - Vermeulen/Connor Thelen: First round: bye; second round: Vermeulen/Connor Thelen def. Dodson/Heier, PIE, 6-3, 6-2.

Branden is a sports reporter that graduated from Purdue University Northwest with a bachelor's degree in communications and a focus in journalism. He joined the Mitchell Republic in June 2021 and covers prep and collegiate athletics. He was also the lead on the Mitchell Republic Full-Court Press, providing a weekly web-exclusive look at high school basketball throughout all of South Dakota. Branden can be reached at bhull@mitchellrepublic.com and found on Twitter at @bhullreports.
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