Alexandria off to a fast start in season with sights set on another section title
Four straight wins to start the season has the Alexandria boys tennis team feeling good about where things could be heading again this spring.
It has been almost two years since the Alexandria boys tennis team made history by winning the program’s first-ever section title, but that season still carries weight.
“Absolutely, especially with no season last year,” current senior Gannon Lueck said. “We talk in practice about that team that went to state for the first time in school history. We’re just trying to use that as momentum to go back-to-back. Definitely it’s momentum even though we haven’t played in a while.”
Lueck is one of four players back from that team with Jacob Partington, Andrew Wegner and Pieter Mulder also playing in the state tournament that year. All four are now trying to lead another talented group that has its sights set on trying to compete for another section title.
So far, so good for the Cardinals. Alexandria is 4-0 early this season after winning a second straight triangular on Thursday by sweeping Minnewaska and Fergus Falls by 6-1 scores.
“It’s definitely been exciting,” Lueck said. “We’ve had limited practice with this weather, but we’ve been making the most out of it and having a good start.”
Lueck swept two matches in straight sets at No. 2 singles on Thursday. Landon Schabel and Aaron Jost did the same at the Nos. 3 and 4 spots in singles.
Lueck played fourth singles and some doubles in 2019, and Partington played predominantly doubles. Both have moved up to help anchor the singles lineup this year.
Partington has taken on the task of battling every team’s top player so far at the No. 1 spot. He split on Thursday, winning in straight sets against Fergus Falls after falling in a 6-2, 6-1 match against Tate Reichmann of Minnewaska. Reichmann is one of the better singles players in the area after making the state tournament as a freshman in 2019.
“We have a lot of new guys on the team," Lueck said. "It’s really our job to lead them and show them by example how to play some tennis.”
Mulder joined Wegner at first doubles to sweep both Fergus Falls and Minnewaska. Dylan Nelson and Owen Gilbertson split their matches at second doubles, and Tyler Jabas and Ryan Meuwissen won both matches in straight sets at No. 3 doubles.
The Cardinals’ biggest win so far this season came in a 4-3 final over Monticello. Alexandria trailed at multiple spots that day but rallied for a win over one of the other top teams in Section 8AA. Schabel won in three sets at No. 3 singles, and Mulder and Wegner and Gilbertson and Nelson did the same in Alexandria’s sweep of the doubles lineup.
“That was great, especially knowing that they’re near the top of our section,” Lueck said. “That was just huge coming out here after a few practices and having a comeback there to win.”
It’s early. There is plenty of season left with other top section contenders like St. Cloud Tech and Moorhead yet to come, but this is a motivated group for Alexandria that is off to a fast start.
“At practice every day, we come with a lot of energy,” Lueck said. “Our guys are willing to work hard and put in the extra effort. I feel like our team here can go really far in sections and hopefully into another state tournament.”
ALEXANDRIA 6, MINNEWASKA 1
SINGLES - No. 1 - Tate Reichmann (M) def. Jacob Partington, 6-2, 6-1; No. 2 - Gannon Lueck (A) def. Konner Hanson, 6-0, 6-1; No. 3 - Landon Schabel (A) def. Tenzin Dahl, 6-0, 6-1; No. 4 - Aaron Jost (A) def. Riley Thorfinnson, 6-0, 6-1
DOUBLES - No. 1 - Pieter Mulder/Andrew Wegner (A) def. Damon Uhde/Ethan Quelle, 6-2, 6-0; No. 2 - Dylan Nelson/Owen Gilbertson (A) def. Gannon Walsh, Logan Maanum, 6-1, 6-0; No. 3 - Tyler Jabas/Ryan Meuwissen (A) def. Connor Quelle/Aiden Maanum, 6-0, 6-1
ALEXANDRIA 6, FERGUS FALLS 1
SINGLES - No. 1 - Partington (A) def. Ben Schierer, 6-1, 6-2; No. 2 - Lueck (A) def. Carter Ness, 6-0, 6-2; No. 3 - Schabel (A) def. Grant Ackerson, 6-0, 6-1; No. 4 - Jost (A) def. Luke Schroeder, 6-2, 6-4
DOUBLES - No. 1 - Mulder/Wegner (A) def. Colton Partain/Maveric Kalenburg, 6-3, 6-1; No. 2 - Noah Tarczon/Conner Ackerson (FF) def. Nelson/Gilbertson, 6-4, 6-3; No. 3 - Meuwissen/Jabas (A) def. Charles Vaughn/Josh Kasper, 6-2, 6-4