The Vermillion boys’ tennis team went to the state tournament in Sioux Falls last Thursday, Friday, and Saturday to finish their 2019 season. A total of 24 teams from across the state competed.
“The State Tennis Tournament is always a great experience,” said head coach Kari Jensen. “There are some impressive tennis players in the state of South Dakota, and it’s always good for our players to witness that excellence. You can see what playing year-round and having indoor facilities can do for players who have that advantage.”
Junior Liam Mechling liked seeing South Dakota’s top tennis players at state as well.
“I enjoyed seeing all of the state’s top competitors fighting for the recognition as the best in the state,” said Mechling.
The Tanagers faced high seeds and lost to tough competition in their two rounds of singles and doubles.
Mechling competed in the first flight of singles for Vermilion as the 23 seed. Sophomore Ramiro Lafuente was in the second flight as the 22 seed. In the third flight, junior Nic Harris was 21. Senior Ross Dahlhoff was 24 in the fourth flight of singles. Senior Phillip Hauck was the 20 seed in the fifth flight. In flight six, junior Trevor Tarr competed as the 22 seed.
“I miss that I couldn't have played some of this year's best, now that they are graduating,” said Mechling about what he will miss this season.
In the first flight of doubles, Mechling and Lafuente were the 21 seed. Harris and Dahlhoff were 22 in the second flight. Hauck and Tarr competed in the third flight of doubles as the 19 seed.
“What I enjoyed most about the season was getting to know the players and seeing them improve over the season,” said coach Jensen. “All the boys are involved in other activities, but they took the time to work on their fundamentals and skills and it paid off this season.”
Vermillion will lose two seniors, Hauck and Dahlhoff.
“I will miss the leadership of our two seniors and their generosity,” said coach Jensen. “Both Phillip and Ross took the time to work with my younger players and were always patient while doing it. I enjoyed their positive attitudes and willingness to work hard and get better.”
As the season ends, the returning Tanagers look to improve in the offseason.
“A couple of my teammates and myself are going a summer league in Yankton to continue competing and practicing for next season,” said Mechling.
Coach Jensen is planning on expanding Vermillion’s tennis team for next season.
“I am looking forward to seeing some new faces this summer and next season,” said coach Jensen. “I am hoping to increase our numbers so we can build on our past experience and bring a more positive attitude towards tennis. I would like to promote tennis as a quality sport that athletes will want to participate in and be proud to be on the Vermillion Tanager Tennis Team.”
Singles Round One:
Liam Mechling v. #10 RCH Thomas Postma 1-6, 3-6; Ramiro Lafuente v. #11 ABC Luke Reierson 3-6, 1-6; Nic Harris v. #12 RCH Drake Beckloff 1-6, 0-6; Ross Dahlhoff v. #9 RCH Nathan Schlauger 1-6, 4-6; Phillip Hauck v. #13 HAR Nick Anderson 0-6, 1-6; Trevor Tarr v. #11 WTN Mark Mahowald 0-6, 0-6
Singles Round Two:
Singles: Liam Mechling v. #9 PIR Jace Wernsmann 0-10; Ramiro Lafuente v. #12 SFR Darin Rupp 0-10; Nic Harris v. #6 BRO Dawson Peters 6-10; Ross Dahlhoff v. #10 SFR Michael Grismer 1-10; Phillip Hauck v. #14 WTN Jacob Meester 0-10; Trevor Tarr v. #12 STM Nate Berzina 3-10
Doubles Round One: Mechling/Lafuente v. #12 BRO Dobbs/Ardry 0-6, 0-6; Harris/Dahlhoff v. #11 RCH Beckloff/Schlauger 0-6, 2-6; Hauck/Tarr v. #14 WTN Mahowald/Meester 0-6, 0-6
Doubles Round Two:
Mechling/Lafuente v. #11 MIT Clark/Bergeson 3-10; Harris/Dahlhoff v. #12 HAR Anderson/Tschudy 1-10; Hauck/Tarr v. #13 LEN Daugherty/Lunstra 2-10