Defending state tennis champs gearing up for another run

The Mounds View High School boys tennis team that won the Class AA state team championship last year looks a bit different this spring. Seven players from the title team graduated and an eighth has taken his game to a tennis academy in Florida.

That exodus left Mounds View with five returning letterwinners to help lead the title defense. Despite the drastic change in personnel, the goal hasn’t changed.

“Our goal is to repeat what we did last year,” said Mounds View head coach Mike Cartwright. 

In order to achieve that goal, the team has smaller goals that it wants to reach.

“Our daily goal is for everybody to improve,” Cartwright added. “All of our players who are returning are improved and all of our players who are new are learning what it takes to compete at this level.”

Leading the team this season are tri-captains Jake Trondson, Sam Hohenshell and Michael Conlin-Brandenburg. Trondson is a senior who has spent most of the past two seasons playing at No. 1 singles. Hohenshell, a senior, and Conlin-Brandenburg are teammates at No. 1 doubles.

The No. 2 singles spot has belonged to freshman Petro Alex while freshman Michael Cao is the regular No. 3 singles player. The No. 4 singles spot has included senior Chandler Hong, junior Luke Alex and freshman Kenneth Diao. Hong and Luke Alex have also played some No. 3 doubles.

The rest of the doubles lineup has featured junior Tyler Hong and sophomores Akhil Chandra, Eli Grayson and Danny Zamow. 

“We have five returning letterwinners and those five are playing very, very well,” Cartwright said. “We have seven new players who are talented but are still learning what it takes to compete at this level.”

Mounds View entered this week 7-1 in dual matches. The lone loss was a 4-3 defeat at the hands of Wayzata on April 13. The Mustangs own victories over Irondale, Park-Cottage Grove, Woodbury and Forest Lake. 

Mounds View has also played in three Saturday tournaments. It won the Pine City tournament on April 16, finished third in the Rochester Mayo tournament on April 23 and won the Elk River tournament on April 30. The Mustangs beat Becker, Apple Valley and the host Elks to take the Elk River tournament.

“We got in a lot of tennis the last three Saturdays,” Cartwright said. “Our primary goal for those events is to get our guys a lot of competition and get used to playing against varsity players.”

Mounds View has three matches and a tournament on the schedule this week, starting on Tuesday with a home Suburban East Conference match against Stillwater. The Mustangs visit second-ranked East Ridge on Wednesday and Roseville on Thursday before heading to Edina on Saturday for a tournament. 

All eight teams participating in the Edina are ranked. The lineup includes No. 1 Shakopee, No. 2 East Ridge, No. 3 Minnetonka, No. 6 Wayzata, No. 7 Edina, No. 8 Mounds View, No. 9 Lakeville South and Blake, which is No. 1 in Class A.

 

Irondale

The Knights entered this week with a winning record. The Knights’ record through eight matches was 5-3.

Irondale has beaten Anoka, Spring Lake Park, Totino-Grace and Blaine and has lost to Mounds View, Centennial and Maple Grove.

On the schedule this week are a home Northwest Suburban Conference match against Robbinsdale Armstrong on Tuesday and a road non-conference match against Robbinsdale Cooper on Wednesday.

 

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com or 651-748-7819. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.

 

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