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Alexandria tennis celebrates a winning season

Alexandria's Hunter Croonquist follows through on a return at the net during a doubles match against Willmar on April 19. Croonquist was named the Cardinals' most improved player this spring season. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)1 / 4
Grant Storm2 / 4
Eli Simonson3 / 4
Zach Wosepka4 / 4

The Alexandria boys tennis team celebrated its second consecutive winning season with a post-season awards banquet on June 1.

The Cardinals finished 14-12 in 2018, as well as a 5-7 mark in the Central Lakes Conference. Individually, Zach Wosepka (15-11 record) and Eli Simonson (15-12) each racked up a team-high 15 wins, while Hunter Croonquist (14-9), Grant Storm (14-10) and Jacob Partington (14-13) each totalled 14. James Foster (13-10), Chris Bienusa (12-5), Alex Jost (11-10), Gannon Lueck (11-12) and Matt Vogel (10-15) also reached double-digit wins.

"It was a season which saw us playing 26 matches in a very short period of time," Alex head coach Dave Ronning said. "Once the snow was gone, we had about four weeks to play these matches, a grueling task for any player. I am so impressed with the way these guys fought every match and kept up with their school work."

At the banquet, Simonson was awarded team MVP honors, while he and Storm were named to the All-Central Lakes Conference team.

"With (Simonson's) versatility, being able to play at a high level at both singles and doubles, he is poised to have a very successful senior season next year," Ronning said. "Eli is a player that gives us a ton of options, where we can put him in singles and load our doubles with the other players, or he can be (dominant) at doubles with a lesser player so we can put the rest of our strengths into singles and the other two doubles spots."

Storm was also given the Most Intense Player award, while Croonquist was named the most improved player and Wosepka was named hardest worker. Wosepka and Vogel were all-conference honorable mentions, as well.

Vogel and Storm are the two lone Cardinals who will leave the program through graduation.

"(They) were a vital part to the success we enjoyed," Ronning said. "...We also talked about the foundation that Grant and Matt have built for our program, not only being successful players but also being strong leaders and good role models for the younger players. The legacy they have built will prove successful for our program for years to come."

Soon-to-be seniors Foster and Wosepka were voted in captains for the 2019 season by the players.

"They have both already expressed their desire to lead a good offseason workout for the returning players, and that is what it will take for us to achieve our goals," said Ronning. "With a strong group of juniors returning and a very talented freshman class, the future looks bright for these guys, but they will have to believe in each other, and they will have to put the work in."

Micah Friez

Micah Friez covers Bemidji State basketball and BSU for the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing. Follow him on Twitter at @micahfriez for Beaver basketball updates.

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