by Bob San
Sun Press Newspapers
The Osseo High boys’ tennis team ended the regular season on a positive note when it defeated Champlin Park 5-2 last week.
The Orioles, made up of mostly inexperienced players, worked hard all season but had a difficult time against veteran squads in the Northwest Suburban Conference.
“The beginning of the season was pretty rough. It took us a while to catch up because we don’t have many off-season players,” Osseo assistant coach Brian Rusche said. “But we improved every week and ended the conference season with a nice 5-2 win over Champlin Park, and finished with a 6-13 overall record.”
Against the Rebels, Osseo got points from first singles Ben Gilbertson and second singles Jake Tufte. The Orioles won all three doubles as Ian Kleven and Charlie Johnson, Riley Van Horn and Connor Maloney, and Edward Torres and Ty Hill combined to win three big points.
Gilbertson, a junior who has played since eighth grade, is the anchor of the team as he provides Osseo with a solid No. 1 singles.
“Ben Gilbertson has really stepped up his game this year,” Rusche said. “He trains hard and will continue to play USTA tournaments and get off-season training. He’s mentally tough and is committed to competing at a high level, and this is rubbing off on other kids. He and our other captain, Riley Van Horn, both set a great example for how to work and compete, and have fun at the same time.”
Rusche is happy the Orioles were rewarded for their hard work with the nice win over Champlin Park. It will be a long building process but he feels the team will be more competitive next year.
“We’re a hard-working, young team,” he said. “All our singles players are coming back next year so this year we really emphasized fundamentals and getting match experience and we will likely be a lot better next year. We will miss our number one doubles pair though, seniors Ian Kleven and Charlie Johnson, who finished the year with key wins for us.”
The Orioles enter section play this week.
Contact Bob San at [email protected]