The Mound Westonka boys tennis team traveled to the state tournament for only the second time in history this last week, and achieved a fourth place finish.
The finish was improbable after coming back at the section playoffs from a second seed to win the right to go to state, and then placing higher then all the other Class A public schools in the state.
The White Hawks met Fergus Falls in the first round of the state tournament and had a very challenging match. Like the White Hawks, they were strong at singles and first doubles.
The third doubles team of Hunter Putt and Trevor Omann, and the second doubles team of Hunter Botts and David Bingham both lost tough matches in two sets, as did Johan Sjokvist at fourth singles.
Senior co-captains Wells Brose and Will Griffith worked their usual magic and won decisively at first singles (6-0, 6-1), to put Fergus Falls up 3-1 in this best of seven match.
All three of the remaining singles matches were tight with long volleys and a see-saw score, but first singles player Luke Moorhead accomplished a straight set win 6-2, 6-4 against a strong opponent. Arend Turner lost the first set 4-6, then came back strong to win the second 6-4 to set up a third set match. Sander Lee at third singles also split the first two sets, winning 6-4 in the first and falling 0-6 in the second.
With all of the other matches finished, and the team match riding on the Turner and Lee outcomes, both teams and all the fans gathered to watch the last two sets, cheering loudly for both teams.
Turner pulled out the third set 6-4, but Lee was locked in a tight battle with each player trading games to a 6-6 tie – setting up a third set tiebreaker.
The tiebreaker is played to seven points but the player must win by two, and the two battled on past 7-7. Lee finally won the tiebreaker 13-11, clinching the set, the match, and the win for Mound Westonka to advance to the semifinals.
In the semifinals were the White Hawks and three private schools – Breck, Blake and Rochester Lourdes. In A level tennis the private schools historically dominate completely, leaving no room for advancement for the public schools.
The private schools have won 19 of the last 20 class A state tournaments, the exception being Winona in 1999. Usually, private schools finish in the top three spots, as was the case this year.
The White Hawks lost their semifinal match up with Rochester Lourdes High School 7-0, putting the team into the third place match against The Blake School.
The White Hawks lost their third place match to Blake 2-5, with White Hawk victories by Sander Lee at third singles (2-6, 6-3, 6-2), and at first doubles by Wells Brose and William Griffith (6-4, 7-5).
In the five team matches this year at the state tournament between public and private schools, the only wins by the public schools in 35 individual contests were taken by Mound Westonka: at third singles by Lee and at first doubles by Griffith and Brose. These wins were against Blake, playing for third place.
Mound Westonka also sent the doubles team of Luke Moorhead and Arend Turner, and singles player Sander Lee to compete in the state individual tournament on June 7.
The singles player Lee lost in the first round to Lac qui Parle Valley High School senior Jack Hansen (6-2, 6-2), and lost to East Grand Forks High School sophomore Ty Misialek in the consolation round (6-4, 6-4).
The doubles team of Moorhead and Turner enjoyed a first round win against the team of Dustin Deutsch and Jonny Vajgrt from Luverne High School (6-1, 6-0), but lost in the second round to Birk Mitau and Matt Henneman of St. Paul Academy and Summit School (6-1, 6-0).
Also notable is that of the ten All Conference awards granted in the Wright County Conference, Mound Westonka players received five. These went to both senior co-captains Will Griffith and Wells Brose, as well as Sander Lee, Arend Turner, and Luke Moorhead. Coaches Robert Paul and Brent Reinbold were also awarded the 2012 Section 2A Coach and Assistant Coach of the Year.