It was only the third-place match, but it meant much more to the Maple Grove boys’ tennis team.
The team was playing Northwest Suburban Conference rival Elk River last season in the Class 2A tournament. The Crimson had never beaten Elk River, former coach J.C. Lippold said, but ended the losing streak with a 5-2 victory.
“It kind of almost seemed like we won the championship for a second to be honest, with some of the ways the players reacted,” then-assistant coach John Kuntz said. “It was pretty fun.”
Kuntz, now head coach after Lippold left after last season for a job in Boston, has the pieces in place to lead the Crimson to its third consecutive state tournament berth.
The team returns most of its top players, including brothers Zach and Charlie Adkins, freshman Sam Hochberger and junior Rory Calabria.
“Even with J.C. gone, our team mentality is certainly strong,” Calabria said, “and communication out on the court and just support for each other is strong.”
Crimson players appear hopeful they can capture the first conference title in school history, despite the challenge posed by Elk River and its top players, Josh and Sam Gearou. Maple Grove will play the Elks in its last match of the season, which could determine the conference championship.
• Coon Rapids junior Cody Thompson hit a game-tying triple in the bottom of the seventh inning last Thursday against Armstrong, helping the Cardinals to a 3-2 victory in their season opener.
• Elk River senior pitcher Erik Nyquist threw a two-hit shutout last Thursday against Centennial, as the Elks won 9-0.
• Anoka’s Jason Brumbaugh and Alex Farley led the Tornadoes baseball team to a 2-1 start last week. Brumbaugh, a senior, hit .455 with two home runs and seven RBI. Farley, a sophomore, hit .455 with a home run and four RBI and also won a game as a pitcher.
• Champlin Park freshman Allison Gerads won the 100 and 200 meter dashes, long jump and high jump in a dual meet with Anoka last Wednesday.