The Waconia boys tennis team had a tournament April 17 at St. James against Fairmont, Winona-Cotter, and St. James Area schools.
“This was an amazing learning experience for our boys as none of them had played in a tournament similar to this before,” said coach Jeff Besire.
In their first match against Fairmont, Paxton Rech and Ryne Anderson won their doubles match, as did Jaxon James and John Harambasic, and the ‘Cats had a lot of close matches among the other five matches. Rech/Anderson won 6-4 and 6-3, while James/Harambasic rebounded from a 7-5 set one loss to win 6-3 and 10-4. Carson Mattson and Carben Dock came close to set wins, but lost 7-5 both times.
Against Winona-Cotter, Waconia swept the doubles matches as Paxton Rech/Carben Dock won 6-2 and 6-4, Ryne Anderson/Weston Stahlke won 6-0 and 6-0, and Bodhi Perera/Jack Gootzeit won 6-3 and 6-1. Leo Thayer earned a set win in the singles competition with a 6-2 win in set two.
“Our singles players gave great effort against high end talent, and evolved within the matches to become better players,” said Bessire. “In our final match against St. James Area schools, it was again extremely close with a team loss, but we were able to get our first singles wins on varsity this year with our No. 1 singles (Jacob Anderson) and No. 3 singles (Leo Thayer) battling hard to overcome good opponents. We also got a win from our No. 3 doubles (Ryne Anderson/Carson Puhl) to give us at least 1 win in doubles in all three of the matches.”
Ryne Anderson/Puhl won 6-2 and 7-6 (2), Jacob Anderson won 6-4 and 11-9 after a 6-3 loss in set one and Thayer won 7-5 and 6-3.
“We were 0-3 as a team, but were a few points in some long matches away from being 2-1 or even 3-0,” said Bessire. “We grew as a team from these matches and came together in support from a long 12 hour day.”
Delano and Litchfield
The Wildcats took on Delano April 20 and lost to the tough Tigers team.
“We had a tough opponent in Delano, and although we may have lost 0-7 we gave it all our effort,” said Bessire. “We will continue working during these matches and each of our practices to become a better version of ourselves by the end of the season.”
Waconia then hosted Litchfield April 22 in their first ever home meet, which had a connection with the Litchfield team.
“We keep learning and getting better as a team,” said Bessire. “Litchfield was a fantastic match as we were able to play many practice matches against a great opponent. Litchfield coach, John Carlson, was actually one of the main architects of our courts helping Superintendent Devine through every step of the way. He was also the one who wanted all of our boys to get plenty of matches because of the beautiful weather. After matches like these, against great opponents, our boys will progress extremely fast.”