Athletes of the week: Minnetonka's Richards plays tennis beyond his years

  • Updated: June 4, 2012 - 7:48 PM

Joey Richards, Minnetonka tennis

JOEY RICHARDS

Minnetonka, tennis

Joey Richards might only be a sophomore, but he already knows how to maintain his composure.

After losing to Eden Prairie senior Scott Elsass in the team portion of the Class 2A, Section 2 tournament, Richards bounced back to claim the singles individual crown with a tough 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Elsass at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter. It was the third meeting of the season between the fellow Lake Conference foes, having split the first two.

"I have played pretty good every time I played him, but this last time was a little different," Richards said. "I didn't miss at all. It was definitely my best match of the year."

The victory means a return trip to the state tournament for Richards. He lost in the opening round a year ago.

"Joey is well ahead of his age group in reading and playing point situations," Skippers coach Dave Stearns said. "Joey is always in control, never letting nerves or anxiety replace focus and intensity."

Richards is hoping last season's state tournament experience will lead to an opening-round victory this year.

"It's tough to win a match at state," Richards said. "I'm going to have to step up my game."

BECCA BATES

St. Anthony, softball

Bates, a senior, tossed a three-hit shutout and belted a two-run home run, leading the Huskies to a 2-0 victory over St. Croix Lutheran in the Class 2A, Section 4 championship.

DALTON CHARBONEAU

Osseo, golf

The Class 3A golf meet will be held at Bunker Hills Golf Course in Coon Rapids, which should bring a smile to Charboneau's face. The senior was the Section 5 medalist with a 2-under-par 70 on the same course.

ASHLEY BETZOLD

Farmington, softball

The junior is a big reason why the Tigers are headed to the softball state tournament for the first time since 2003. Betzold threw a three-hitter as Farmington beat Rochester John Marshall 5-1 in the Class 3A, Section 1 finals. She also went 3-for-4 with two doubles and a solo home run.

CJ JANU

Spring Lake Park, track

In the Class 2A, Section 5 meet, Janu came away with three first-place finishes (110 and 300 hurdles and 4x200 relay team) that established two school records along the way. His record- setting performances came in the 300 hurdles, with a time of 38.78 seconds, and as a member of the relay squad with a time of 1:28.65.

NATASHA MOORE

St. Paul Johnson, track

The sprinting specialist is headed to the Class 2A meet for the third consecutive year. In the Section 4 meet, she won the 100-meter dash in 12.14 seconds and the 200-meter dash in 25.31.

TYLER KURKOWSKI

Anoka-Hennepin, adapted softball

The senior pitcher helped the Mustangs to a third consecutive CI (cognitively impaired) division adapted softball state championship. He went 5-for-5 at the plate in the semifinals and championship. The Mustangs beat Dakota United 7-2 for the title.

RON HAGGSTROM

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