Warrior Athlete: Warriors Lundberg learning from the past
Tanner Lundberg received a wake-up call at last year's state boys tennis tournament.
The Brainerd Warriors' junior advanced to his first Class 2A state singles tournament after winning the Section 8-2A title.
Lundberg opened with a 6-2, 6-0 loss to Orono's Conner Olsen and then lost to Mahtomedi's Spencer Wick 6-1, 6-2 in the consolation bracket to end his season.
What Lundberg learned as a sophomore has turned him into a new player this season.
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- Sport: Boys Tennis
- Position: No. 1 singles
- Year: Junior
- Age: 17
- Height: 5-foot-8
- Career highlight: Going to Class 2A state individual tennis tournament last year
- Other sports: Basketball
- Grade-point average: 3.0
- Favorite class: Gym
- Favorite food: Pepperoni pizza
- Favorite movie: "Miracle"
- Favorite TV show: "The Office"
- Future plans: Going to business college
- Favorite athlete: Roger Federer
- Parents: Jody and Steve Lundberg
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"Hitting at state, kind of woke me up in that I need to hit the ball (with power) as well as being consistent," said Lundberg. "When your opponent gives you a weak ball you have to come in and attack it and finish the point off. You can't always be sitting back. There weren't a lot of weak balls at the state tournament, but if I hit one they would punish me for it."
This season Lundberg is dealing out the punishment.
In Brainerd's 5-2 loss to St. Cloud Tech, Lundberg dispatched Nate Jorde 6-1, 6-4 May 5 to improve to 12-1.
Lundberg dropped just one game in Brainerd's 7-0 win over Sartell May 2.
"The conference coaches are scratching their heads trying to figure out how to beat him," Brainerd head coach Bruce Thompson said. "He is a good player. He shows zero emotion. He might get down on himself because maybe he's not hitting as well as he would like to, but you have to have that (level of) emotion as a No. 1 singles player. You have to have a short memory in tennis. You have to forget that point you just screwed up on and move to the next one.
"He doesn't make a lot of unforced errors. He has such exactness when he hits the ball and purpose with where that ball is going. He doesn't swing wildly. He's just going to work that opponent to his weakness."
Lundberg has never been one to show emotion or dwell on poor play. He said that's been key to his success as Brainerd's No. 1 singles player for the past three seasons.
What's scary is he believes he's gotten better at it.
"I've won a couple of matches from way behind so I know to take it one point at a time," Lundberg said. "You need to forget about what happened on the last point and get ready for the next one.
"I've always kind of been like that, but I've gotten better at it as the years have gone by. For the most part I've been like that, though."
Lundberg's goals this season are to return to state and help the Warriors advance to the state tournament. His play in the top spot has led the Warriors to a 12-1 season, which is Lundberg's record as well.
Lundberg's only loss of the season came April 29 at the Buffalo tournament. Lundberg won his matches against Centennial and Monticello. His loss came against Chicago Lakes' Thomas Gillach, a three-time state participant.
"It helps me a lot playing guys like that because I know if I make it to state that's exactly what I'm going to see," Lundberg said.
Against Centennial, Thompson said Lundberg dominated a larger, stronger opponent for a 6-0, 6-0 victory. Lundberg said he can tell when he's frustrating an opponent and then becomes even more aggressive.
"His quickness and his footwork are good, but his hands," said Thompson. "His hands are the best that we've had in a long time. When you don't think he's going to return a ball, he does. He'll get a racket on it somehow. He has such good touch.
"He doesn't overhit and he can really craft a point. He can really push that ball back and slice that ball back and get that ball where he can come in. He's got a good net game."
Other notable efforts:
Clare Ceynowa, softball, finished 2-2 with a home run, triple, two RBIs and a run against Bemidji.
Jeff Spieker, track and field, won the 110- and 300-meter hurdles at the Wayzata Relays. He won the 110 hurdles at the Section 8-3A True Team meet.
Mac Brink, baseball, finished 4-4 with a walk, stolen base and two RBIs against Bemidji. He was 2-4 with a run, stolen base and two RBIs against Willmar.
Bryce Flanagan, baseball, finished 2-3 with a double, home run and two RBIs and against Willmar. He also pitched a victory against the Cardinals.
Elaina Christiansen, softball, finished 5-8 with two doubles and a home run against Willmar.
Lexi Roby, softball, finished 6-8 with two doubles against Willmar.