Talented Wayzata tennis team driven to prove top ranking

  • Article by: JIM PAULSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 30, 2013 - 6:35 PM

The top-ranked Trojans have a strong slate of players back from last season’s Class 2A runners-up.

hide

Freshman Nick Beaty, a three-year veteran of the Wayzata boys’ team, is among the best players on team, which is gearing up for a run at the state title.

 

In his 11 years coaching the Wayzata boys’ tennis team, Jeff Prondzinski rarely has seen anything come easy for the Trojans.

So it’s no surprise that, despite having the deepest, most talented roster he’s ever had — one that many consider the best in Class 2A — the ultra-driven Prondzinski is pushing his players just as hard as he ever has.

Wayzata entered this season finally getting the respect it has long deserved. The Trojans have had back-to-back runner-up finishes in the Class 2A state tournament. With a singles lineup that is among the best in the state complimented by its traditional strength at doubles, Wayzata has occupied the No. 1 spot in the Class 2A state rankings all season.

Such recognition is nice for his players, Prondzinski said, but at this point of the season it’s relatively meaningless.

“In my 11 years here, we’ve never started the season ranked in the top five, but we always seem to finish there,” Prondzinski said. “This team, no doubt, has the most talent we’ve ever had, but we’ve got a long way to go and a lot of work still to do.”

As if to emphasize the point, after beginning the season with eight consecutive victories, Wayzata lost to Class 1A powerhouse Blake in the semifinals of Saturday’s Edina Invitational. The Trojans may be good, but as has always been the case, they’ll have to earn everything they get.

Bring it on, the players say. There is no fear of work in this lineup.

It starts with senior Dustin Britton, who has battled back from an injury to his right shoulder suffered in the summer of 2011 that derailed his junior year. Unable to do much of anything with a tennis racquet, Britton watched helplessly as college recruiters stopped calling and his high school team moved on without its No. 1 singles player.

“It was so hard,” Britton said. “I would do all of the conditioning and then leave. I did everything I could to get back on the court. I served underhanded. I tried to play with my left hand. I just wanted to play tennis.”

Britton’s shoulder is finally healed and he’s back playing No. 1 singles. His return to form is doubly important. He gives Wayzata a strong presence at the top of its lineup; he’s 7-2, with his only losses coming to the two No. 1 -ranked players in Minnesota, Blake’s Charlie Adams (Class 1A) and Edina’s Max Olson (2A). He also allows Prondzinski to drop his other talented singles players down in the lineup, where they have a much better chance of winning.

Perhaps the biggest beneficiary is freshman Nick Beaty. A three-year varsity veteran, Beaty has grown six inches since last year and is no longer a precocious mop-top but a formidable foe.

“It helps so much having Dustin back,” Beaty said. “It’s a great confidence-builder.”

The same goes for senior Matt Tropsha at No. 3 singles and sophomore Hank Lee at No. 4. Playing in more comfortable positions, they give Wayzata a chance to sweep the singles in nearly every match.

Considering that it only takes four victories to win a match, coupled with Wayzata’s depth in doubles (which will only improve when senior Jack Graven returns from a bout with mononucleosis), the team’s championship hopes look legitimate.

That, however, is still too far in the future for Pronzindski. Goals are important, but the Trojans have plenty to do to reach them.

“Putting Dustin back at the top makes us pretty strong and with Nick, it’s like having two No. 1 [singles players], but we still have to put in the work,” he said. “We’ve always played our best at the end of the year. We got close last year and it was a fun ride, but we came up a little short. I know these kids aren’t satisfied.”

The Trojans know how good they can be. Three times in April they shoveled courts so they could play outside while other teams were hitting indoors. The feeling is that this is their year and they’re not about to let it skip away.

“I’ve pictured it,” said Tropsha, thinking about a possible state championship. “I can see it in my mind. This is the best team we’ve had since I’ve been here. We’re going to do everything we can to get there.”

 

Jim Paulsen • 612-673-7737

  • related content

  • The Wayzata’s boys’ tennis team is among the best in the state and the No. 1 player on the team is singles player Dustin Britton, who is coming back from injury.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets - B. Colon 6:05 PM
Washington - T. Roark
Baltimore - U. Jimenez 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - B. McCarthy
Kansas City - Y. Ventura 6:05 PM
Cleveland - D. Salazar
Seattle - F. Hernandez 6:07 PM
Toronto - R. Dickey
Chicago WSox - S. Carroll 6:08 PM
Detroit - D. Price
Philadelphia - C. Hamels 6:10 PM
Miami - H. Alvarez
Pittsburgh - G. Cole 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Wood
Milwaukee - M. Fiers 6:10 PM
Cincinnati - J. Cueto
Tampa Bay - A. Cobb 6:10 PM
Boston - C. Buchholz
Houston - B. Oberholtzer 7:05 PM
Texas - N. Martinez
St. Louis - S. Miller 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks
Arizona - A. Chafin 7:10 PM
Minnesota - K. Gibson
LA Angels - W. LeBlanc 9:05 PM
Oakland - S. Gray
San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke
Colorado - J. De La Rosa 9:10 PM
San Diego - R. Erlin
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Buffalo 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Green Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Tennessee 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Carolina 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Detroit 9/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Tampa Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Miami 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Oakland
Jacksonville 9/28/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Atlanta 9/28/14 3:25 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 9/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
New Orleans 9/28/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New England 9/29/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Carolina 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Pittsburgh 6:00 PM
Columbus
Boston 6:30 PM
Montreal
Nashville 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Philadelphia 6:30 PM
Toronto
Detroit 7:30 PM
Chicago
San Jose 8:00 PM
Vancouver
Arizona 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Vancouver 9:30 PM
San Jose
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary

ADVERTISEMENT

Advertisement
Golden Gavel by Star Tribune

Time left for great deals

Bid thru Sept. 29

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which struggling team is in the worst shape?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close