HURON — Four seniors and a pair of sophomores will close the season for the Huron boys’ tennis team at the State Tennis Meet, which begins today in Sioux Falls.
The three-day event, which includes teams from 21 schools, is slated to begin at 8 a.m. The flight 1-2 singles, along with the No. 1 doubles will be played at McKennan Park; the flight 3-4 singles and No. 2 doubles will be played at Sioux Falls Washington; and the flight 5-6 singles and No. 3 doubles will be played in Brandon Valley.
“The seniors have worked hard over the course of their careers,” Huron coach Tim Hedblom said. “I hope that each one of them has a solid tournament.”
Capping their careers at the state tournament for the Tigers will be Blake Meyer at No. 1, Henry Rubish at No. 2, Tyler Sterrett at No. 3 and Landon Claeys at No. 4. They will be joined by Brenden Schlader at No. 5 and Reese Uecker at No. 6.
Hedblom is hoping his team can improve on its 16th-place finish from a year ago at this year’s tournament.
“I hope that we are in the 8-12 range in the final standings,” he said. “We are going to need some first-round wins for that to happen.”
With a 17-5 record this season at No. 4, Claeys will be the highest seeded player for Huron entering the tournament. Schlader was the only other player with a winning singles record, going 11-10 at No. 5.
The rest of the team, with the exception of Meyer – who faced the top players in the state each match – finished the season around the .500 mark. Sterrett was 10-11 at No. 3, Uecker was 9-12 at No. 6 and Rubish was 9-14 at No. 2. Meyer finished 3-16 in the first flight.
“If each one of the boys play the way they are capable of, they could each finish in the top 10,” Hedblom said. “Landon should end up with a good seed, which should work in his favor. Most of the boys should end up with decent first-round matches and we need to take advantage of those and get wins.”
Rubish and Claeys combined to post Huron’s best record in the doubles competition with a 13-9 mark at No. 2. Schlader and Uecker went 11-11 this season at No. 3 and Meyer and Sterrett were 6-17 at No. 1.
“In doubles, top-10 finishes for all three would be great,” Hedblom said.
The top four teams from last year’s state tournament are the frontrunners to battle for the title again this season, according to Hedblom. He pointed to Sioux Falls Lincoln, Rapid City Stevens, Mitchell and Sioux Falls O’Gorman as being the top contenders.
Sioux Falls Lincoln, which is the defending state champion, returns three players who won singles titles last season, along with the top doubles team at No. 1.
Defending titles for the Patriots will be senior Kaleb Dobbs and No. 1 and sophomore Sam Dobbs at No. 2. They also will be defending their title in No. 1 doubles.
Junior Graham Leonard won the No. 5 singles title last season for the Patriots.
First and second round matches will be held today, with the third round scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. Friday at all three locations. The finals will be held Saturday at McKennan Park, starting at 8 a.m.
In case of inclement weather, the tournament will be moved indoors to courts at Huether Family Match Pointe, Great Life at Woodlake and the Country Club of Sioux Falls.