Boys Tennis: New coach, new faces, but the hope is same success

Ellen Fussy will finally begin her tenure as the Brainerd Warriors head boys tennis coach.

Ben Boberg stretches to reach the ball during boys tennis practice Thursday, April 1, 2021, at the Brainerd High School tennis courts. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

When Ellen Fussy was the head girls tennis coach the Brainerd Warriors advanced to state three straight seasons.

She’s now the head coach of the Warrior boys team and will hope to bring that same kind of success to a thriving boys program.

The first order of business is to learn her players after COVID-19 took away her inaugural season as the head coach.

“We’re excited to be able to compete and we’re going to do better on May 20 than we were on April 20 and on March 29 when we started,” Fussy said. “I just want to see some growth because we do have some younger talent. It will be fun to watch them grow and work throughout the season and just keep the good tradition that we’ve developed over the last few years with Warrior boys tennis.”

Fussy was the head girls coach from 2009-12. She’s been a part of both programs before and after as an assistant coach so she knows her athletes, but the only returning player from 2019 is junior Beck Barber, who dabbled in both singles and doubles play for the Warriors two years ago as a freshman.


“He has put a lot of work into his game over the last year,” Fussy said. “He’s vying for the No. 1 spot. The spot is still up for grabs as we’ve only had two practices, but he will for sure be a singles player.”

Juniors Noah Madsen and Eli McConkey are also strong singles contenders and Fussy might look for a freshman or two to crack the top 10.

“We have Matthew Moraghan and sophomore Karl Anderson, who might be there,” said Fussy. “We have another Aadland. You might remember Ian Aadland, well Will Aadland is his brother and he’s a ninth grader. I have 14 kids and out of those, I have five that I know for sure will be in the top 10. The other five, there could be like nine people that we rotate in.”

AJ Campbell and Ben Boberg will be contenders for the Warriors’ doubles squads, as will senior Tyler Schaitberger.

Matthew Morghan returns the ball during boys tennis practice Thursday, April 1, 2021, at the Brainerd High School tennis courts. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Both Aadland and Moraghan had brothers who advanced to the Class 2A state individual tournament in 2019. Patrick Moraghan won the Section 8-2A singles title and Ian Aadland and Garrett Goeden won the section doubles title.

“It’s always fun when you have kids that are from a ‘tennis family,’” Fussy said. “They’ve been around it so they know the ropes a little more.”


The first order of business will be to start thinking competitively while playing. Fussy said without having played last year that aspect of the sport is in most need of work.

“I think that getting back into formalized play, we’ve had a lot of kids that have been playing on their own or playing with parents or friends, it’s getting back into talking about the basics and the strategies and things like that,” Fussy said. “They missed out on a year of competition so we’ve got to get back that mindset of what it’s like to be under pressure on the court when you’re playing an actual match.”

COVID-19 restrictions will have coaches wearing masks all the time. Singles players do not need to wear masks as long as they stay 6 feet apart. Doubles players will have to wear masks. During practice, if players aren’t socially distanced they will be wearing masks. When traveling, the players will have assigned seats.

“We just started sharing numbers with other schools just so we know how many players to travel with,” Fussy said. “And numbers are a little bit down compared to what they've been in the past, but we’re seeing that across the board with every sport. We’re in the high 20s right now and we’re usually in the 40s.”

Brainerd will open Thursday, April 8, when it hosts Sartell. It’s hard to know what other teams have coming back and Fussy said she’s just focused on her own team and trying to find the right fit for her own players.

“Right now we’re just trying to figure out who is going to play singles and who are our doubles players and the chemistry between our doubles players,” Fussy said. “Right now we do not really have any returning doubles team that has played together so we’re looking at combinations and we’re going to look at where we think people fall in the ladder. We’re having our eyes on as many kids as we can to make sure we’re given everybody a shot. Our lineup on next Thursday will probably change three or four times before we have to have that section lineup.”

The Warriors next go to a quadrangular invite at Becker. Fussy is excited to get a lot of matches early to see where her players succeed. Brainerd will attend a Buffalo Invite April 24 and will host a three-team invite May 8.

“We had a lot of kids play over the winter at Cragun’s so I do have some high expectations,” Fussy said. “If we come out ready to play and compete, I think we’ll do OK.”


JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 218-855-5856 or Follow on Twitter at

Boys Tennis

Ellen Fussy

Head coach: Ellen Fussy, second year boys head coach (four years girls coach)

2019 record: CLC 5-5, overall 9-6


Assistant coaches: Briana Rademacher, Dan Egan, Garry Niemi

Warrior roster

Seniors: Benjamin Boberg, Rodney Campbell, Gabriel Maurer, Jarrett Osborne, Tyler Schaitberger, Noah Jocque

Juniors: Beck Barber, Jalen Emslander, Benjamin Guida, Benjamin Karlgaard, Noah Madsen, Eli McConkey, Nicholas Moore

Sophomores: Karlton Anderson, Ethan Diede, Micah Halbersma

Freshmen: William Aadland, Cole Belton, George Campbell, Gavin Jacobson, Benjamin Baurer, Matthew Moraghan, Anthony Nelson

Eighth grader: Clark Haglin


Warrior schedule

Thursday, April 8: hosts Sartell 4:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 10: vs. Buffalo, Delano, Becker at Becker 9 a.m.

April 13: hosts Fergus Falls 4:30 p.m.

April 15: hosts Willmar 4:30 p.m.

April 20: at St. Cloud Tech 4:30 p.m.

April 22: hosts Bemidji 4:30 p.m.


April 24: Buffalo Invite 8 a.m.

April 27: hosts Apollo/Sauk Rapids 4:30 p.m.

April 29: hosts Alexandria 4:30 p.m.

April 30: at Sartell 4:30 p.m.

May 6: at Willmar 4:30 p.m.

May 7: hosts St. Cloud Tech 4:30 p.m.

May 8: Warrior Triangular 10 a.m.

May 11: at Bemidji 4:30 p.m.

May 13: at Apollo/Sauk Rapids 4:30 p.m.

May 18: at Alexandria 4:30 p.m.

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