Brainerd Boys Tennis Eyes State Tournament
The Brainerd tennis team brings back a large portion of their roster from last year, where they won 20 games and made it to the section finals.
“We already have a lot of team chemistry together,” says senior Jacob Hodge. “Everyone’s getting better, everyone’s working at their spots. So, you play the same spot and got better, you’re going to win more matches.”
Leading the team is senior Tanner Lundberg, who recently won his 100th game. The two-time section singles champ says his past experience will help him this season.
“You play tougher opponents the higher up the ladder you get,” says Lundberg. “Just to play in that the past few years has been really good for me and improving my game.”
“He has good hands, a good response, doesn’t hit a lot of unforced errors, and stays in a lot of points,” says head coach Bruce Thompson. “He’s going to have a go-to ball, that stinger ball, to put pressure on his opponents and come into the net.”
The team’s matchups with St. Cloud Tech are already circled. Brainerd lost three times last year, all to Tech, including in the Section 8-2A final.
“We lost 6-1 to them in the section finals. We’ve worked all winter and our eyes are only on Tech,” says senior Nathan Rud. “We know we can go through the other teams, and we just need to go through them.”
“I think they’re a little weaker and we’re a little stronger,” says Hodge. “I think we’ve been doing our best, everyone put the time in in the winter, and everyone put in time last summer. We think we’re ready for them and I think we can take them.”
But the snow will have to melt for those games to take place, so until then, it’s all practice inside.
“Once the courts open up we won’t have much practice time because rescheduled matches will be there,” says Rud. “I wish it wasn’t my senior year that we were snowed in, but we’ll make the best of it.”