Boys Tennis: Brainerd an early favorite with eight returners
Brainerd Warriors Head coach: Bruce Thompson, 20th year Career record: 175-124 (.585) 2015 record: CLC 7-4, overall 13-7 Captains: Brady Mick, Happy Rivard Assistant coaches: Chuck Whalen, Ellen Fussy Bruce Thompson couldn't recall having a year ...
Head coach: Bruce Thompson, 20th year
Career record: 175-124 (.585)
2015 record: CLC 7-4, overall 13-7
Captains: Brady Mick, Happy Rivard
Assistant coaches: Chuck Whalen, Ellen Fussy
Bruce Thompson couldn't recall having a year where more players returned to the starting lineup than he has this season.
Thompson will begin his 20th season as head coach of the Brainerd Warriors when they are scheduled to host Fergus Falls Tuesday, April 12. Eight of the 10 players who played in the Section 8-2A semifinals meet return to the roster, including No. 1 singles player Tanner Lundberg.
"From years past, it's up there," said Thompson. "I don't know if it's the most exactly, but we have a good contingent of people coming back. We graduated Jordan Kleist, who was a singles player, and we graduated Joe Anderholm, who was a doubles player,-both are at the University of Minnesota in engineering-so we lost some good kids."
Along with Lundberg, junior Patrick Meyer and senior Eric Stout return to the Warriors' singles lineup.
This will be Lundberg's third year on the varsity and second as the No. 1 singles player. He finished 12-10 last season before falling in the section's true-second match to place third.
This will be Meyer's third season on the varsity and Thompson believed it was Stout's second.
"We've only been outside probably three times, but I have some challenge matches and some things that need to be done so we can see where these guys will land," said Thompson. "I need to see Patrick Meyer and Eric Stout in a match. I've got three guys who could be our No. 4 singles player."
That list includes eighth-grader Steven Low, Jacob Hodge and Theodore Knudson. Thompson didn't rule out putting Hodge and Knudson together in the doubles lineup.
Returning to the doubles lineup are junior Travis Goeden, who teamed with Anderholm at No. 1 doubles last year. Then No. 2 doubles team of seniors Cole Kalenberg and Happy Rivard returns as does the No. 3 doubles team of senior Brady Mick and freshman Garrett Goeden.
"We have Cole Ball coming back as well and Dylan McLain is in the mix for a doubles spot," said Thompson. "I've got a good mix of people on the doubles side as well as the singles side. It's going to be interesting to see how they do, but we need some more intrasquad play to really see where we are at."
Last season, Brainerd was bounced from the playoffs by Elk River which is no longer in Section 8-2A. Thompson said the same teams that will be threats in the Central Lakes Conference will also be the top competition in the section.
"St. Cloud Tech is always up there," he said. "They always have some good players. We lost to Tech twice last year, but I think we can compete with them. We had a couple of good matches with them last year.
"Willmar has a great lineup. They have a great singles lineup with everybody back. They won a lot of matches last year 4-3. We lost to Willmar twice by scores of 5-2 and 4-3. We have to pick off a singles point somewhere."
Both of those teams are in the Warriors' section along with Alexandria, Becker, Bemidji, Big Lake, Monticello, Moorhead, Sartell, Sauk Rapids, St. Cloud Apollo, Tech and Willmar.
"If we can pull it together, we could be a really decent team," said Thompson. "We have to find out what kind of team we are and what we're going to do. We have to come together as a team and start playing for each other. We need to pick our maturity and our level of play.
"We want to be the top team coming out of the North Subsection. We want to be one of the four teams in the section finals. That's one of our goals."
Seniors: Cole Ball, Austin Domino, Cole Kalenberg, Brady Mick, Greg Ortmeier, Simon Riguelme, Happy Rivard, Eric Stout, Brandon Vroman
Juniors: Mitchell Andres, Tanner Clink, Travis Goeden, Matt Greatens, Kyle Hensel, Adam Kleist, Theodore Knudson, Kobe Malone, Dylan McLain, Patrick Meyer, Travis Schultz
Sophomores: Deven Ahmann, Thomas Anakkal, Camden Cooper, Eli Dunnick, Matt Hintz, Jacob Hodge, Kieran McFadden, Tanner Lundberg, Nathan Rud, Nick Stout
Freshmen: Riley Andres, Gavin Andres, Wyatt Andres, Noah Blum, Garrett Goeden, Clay Jambor, Oliver Knudson, Jacob Mitchell, Layton Rivard
Eighth-grader: Steven Low
April 12: Fergus Falls 4:30 p.m.
April 14: at Willmar 4:30 p.m.
April 15: Moorhead 4 p.m.
April 19: at St. Cloud Tech 4:30 p.m.
April 22: at Bemidji 4 p.m.
April 26: St. Cloud Apollo 4:30 p.m.
April 28: at Alexandria 4:30 p.m.
April 30: at Buffalo Invite 10 a.m.
May 3: Sartell 4:30 p.m.
May 5: at Fergus Falls 4:30 p.m.
May 6: Willmar 4:30 p.m.
May 10: St. Cloud Tech 4:30 p.m.
May 13: at St. Cloud Apollo 4:30 p.m.
May 14: Brainerd Triangular 9 a.m.
May 17: Alexandria 4:30 p.m.
May 19: at Sartell 4:30 p.m.
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 855-5856 or email@example.com . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop .