BY BOB SAN
The Maple Grove boys’ tennis team made history when it captured the Section 5 Tournament title by edging long-time powerhouse Mounds View last week. The Crimson thus earned the program’s first state tournament berth.
Surrounded by a crowd of alumni who helped build the program over the better part of a decade, the Crimson rose to the occasion and broke through with a historic victory.
The Crimson won the match 4-3 against Mounds View Mustangs, who had won the last 10 section championships.
"We played with high energy, great focus, and enjoyed the opportunity to compete on the big stage in front of so many people," Crimson coach J.C. Lippold said.
Maple Grove won all four singles matches with Zach Adkins winning at No. 1 singles, Charlie Adkins at second singles, Sam Hochberger at third singles and Rory Calabria at fourth singles. Calabria was the last match to finish when the score was tied 3-3 and he provided the winning margin with a 6-3 victory in the third set.
Maple Grove’s doubles teams also competed well. First doubles Andrew Nagel and Sam Endres lost 4-6 in the third set. Second doubles Trevor Kleineschay and Derrick Marvin lost 3-6 in the third set and third doubles Jacob Endres and Dylan Steman lost 4-6 in the third.
The Crimson enter state with a season record of 22-2 with their only losses coming to the top two ranked teams in state, Elk River and Wayzata.
"This team is the culmination of so many high school tennis players who gave everything they had to keep inching closer and closer to this dream of getting to compete in the state tournament," Lippold said. "We are extra proud of the fact that we do it with great attitudes, a clear love of the sport and our teammates, and remembering that this is so much more than tennis…it’s us challenging and supporting ourselves and each other to grow into being better people. Crimson Tennis is alive and well and looks to stay that way for a long time."
The Crimson also sent Zach Adkins to the state individual tournament. Adkins finished second in the section individual singles competition. Andrew Nagel and Sam Endres finished third in the section in the doubles tournament. Charlie Adkins finished third in the singles.
Maple Grove opened state team play Tuesday, June 5. The state semifinal and final were Wednesday, June 6. Adkins will play in the state individual tournament June 7 and 8 at the Baseline Tennis Center at the U of M.