Ready for State: FF boys tennis team ready for competition [UPDATED]Published 10:30am Tuesday, June 5, 2012 Updated 9:29am Tuesday, June 5, 2012
A great team is built around chemistry of the individuals and the hard work and dedication each member has to the whole.
The Fergus Falls Otter boys tennis team have the above credentials, which helped them earn a trip to the Class A state tournament.
Jake Anderson plays the role of a player who has been to the tournament and looks to improve on last year’s finish. David Schneck is the wild haired doubles player who is a flashback from the days of John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors, while his partner Ben Ronning’s style is straight out of the 90s Agassi/Samparas era.
Singles player Jesse Schneeberger takes on the identity of a quiet competitor with a fierce return.
The team is the product of Otters’ Coach Josh Mohagen, a man who gives off the aura of Zen master, while also allowing the boys to have fun on the court.
“We are just a bunch of goof balls and buddies,” Doubles’ player David Schneck said.
They were no goofing around for the Otter boys as they were able to win the Section 6A title by defeating Foley 5-2.
“The guys are going to have a great experience and its a fun way to cap off their season,” Mohagen said. “These guys have played all summer long, all season long for six years improving. They ended with seeing where they stack up with some of the best teams in Minnesota.”
The Otters will face off against Mound Westonka High School in the first round of the team tournament Tuesday at 12 p.m.
Mohagen feels that every one of the matches in the first round of the team tournament is toss-up as both teams are very comparable.
“There isn’t a match that you feel like you are going to win or they can take from you. We are very evenly matched up.”
The Otters will not only be competing as a team, but will see two singles players and a doubles team play for individual titles.
Last year’s state qualifier Jake Anderson claimed his first section title after defeating teammate Jesse Schneeberger in the finals.
“It was weird competing against a teammate. We were both exhausted and it felt like a practice,” Anderson commented.
It isn’t an easy practice either, as Mohagen stresses playing competitive matches at every practice to get his players prepared to play the team’s tough conference schedule.
What would a individual state title mean to the players you might ask?
“It would be awesome, it would mean that years of hard work paid off with the ultimate prize.” Anderson said.
Teammate Schneeberger offered a different view.
“It would be great, but I would rather win the team title than the individual title.”
Anderson will open the individual tournament playing Kolin Kiekhoefer of New Life Academy of Woodbury, while Schneeberger will take on Joey Kronzer of Marshall School in Duluth Thursday at 8 a.m.
The Doubles team of Schneck and Ben Ronning took runner-up honors at the section tournament and will be looking to create some noise at state.
Ronning feels that they are prepared for state and learned a few keys at sections.
“I cannot let my emotions get the best of me and stay in the match and don’t get frustrated with my play if it isn’t going our way.”
Schneck and Ronning will open against Mitch Elofson and Nathan Huber of Saint Peter High School.
The team will look to spend one last week together as the fun and competition come to an end at the state meet.
“The team has a lot of fun together, we have a lot of inside jokes and its going to be really fun spending the week with them,” added Ronning.