by Bob San
SUN PRESS NEWSPAPERS
Maple Grove boys’ tennis coach JC Lippold does not hold back when asked what are the goals for his team this season.
“We want to win our first Northwest Suburban Conference title. We want to win the State Tournament,” said Lippold, who is starting his ninth season at Maple Grove.
The reason for Lippold’s bravado is easy to understand. The Crimson return seven starters from last year’s team that finished 23-4 and set numerous school milestones. They took second in the conference with a 9-1 record, won the school’s first section championship and a berth to state meet and finished sixth at state.
Returning starters are junior Zach Adkins, freshman Charlie Adkins, eighth-grader Sam Hochberger, sophomore Rory Calabria, seniors Trevor Kleineschay and Derrick Marvin, and junior Jacob Endres.
“Our returning varsity starters from last year all will have a great chance of All-Conference honors, some for the second, third or fourth times,” said Lippold, who has compiled a 98-54 record at Maple Grove. “Zach Adkins was an individual state singles participant last year and they all have the strong possibility of making it to state individuals.”
Key newcomers are juniors Vinura Withanawasam and Trevor Gifft, senior Nate Nemeth and sophomore Jack Barr.
“These four spent all of last season as integral parts of our varsity system,” Lippold said. “It is time for them to step up and become active full time members of our top 10.”
The Crimson have talented individuals but Lippold said the team’s strengths are teamwork and a love of the game that translates into match toughness.
“We are a huge program built on the love of the game and more so the love of getting to play tennis in a team atmosphere,” he said. “Our strength is our mental edge in that we never let the heat of the moment distract us from the fact that we work hard to represent each other and to cultivate our appreciation for the team and opportunity to play epic, top notch tennis with each other.”
With a solid team with skills and depth, the Crimson are looking to improve on last year’s showings. Maple Grove and Elk River are supposed to meet in a key conference match May 9 at Elk River, weather permitting.
Contact Bob San at [email protected]