Otter tennis sends 4 individuals to statePublished 9:46am Wednesday, May 29, 2013
The boys were saying it must be “back to back to back to back” now for the Otters boys tennis team. After winning the Section 6A tournament last week to make a repeat trip to the State Class A team tournament, four individuals repeated last years’ Fergus Falls feat of sending two singles individuals and one doubles team to the State Class A individual tournament. Just as last year, it was the icing on the cake for the four Otter individuals Jesse Schneeberger, David Schneck, Jason Burns and Sam Rausch. They knew they were going to the team state tournament anyhow, so they played freely and without nerves in capturing the top two singles slots and the number 2 doubles spot to all qualify for the state individual tournament also.
The Otters #1 singles player and Section 6A’s #1 seed, Jesse Schneeberger, defeated Long Prairie’s Laine Larson in the semi-final match handily, running through a 6-0, 6-1 victory. He then faced teammate and frequent practice partner, fellow Otter David Schneck, in the final match winning 6-4, 6-4 for the championship medal. Schneck, the #2 seed in the tournament, had defeated New London-Spicer’s Tyler Halvorson 6-2, 6-2 in his semi-final. Since the top two singles players both qualify for the state individual tournament they will both represent Section 6A and Fergus Falls. Schneeberger qualified last year for the state individuals, and came out with the consolation championship medal. Schneck also qualified last year in doubles and gained valuable state experience that has shown in his improved game this year.
In doubles, Jason Burns and Sam Rausch were the #2 seeded team and ended up matching their seed by taking the second place medals, good for a trip to the state individual tournament also. They defeated the New London-Spicer team of Spencer Moller and Austin Laumb in the semi-finals in a tight match, 6-4, 7-6 (7-1). They then played the Foley duo of Zach Kantor and Mitch Weisser for the championship and started well, taking the first set 6-4. But the Foley team started hitting on all cylinders and the Otters couldn’t slow them down as Foley ran through the last two sets to win the match 6-2, 6-1. The section individual tournament has a “true second” criteria which forced Burns and Rausch to have to play another match to make it to state. The St. Cloud Cathedral team of Phil Ruegemer and Josh Robak beat the New London-Spicer team in the third place match and since Burns and Rausch had not played them in the tourney, they had to play for “true second”. The Otters started down 2-1 in both of their sets, but in both came storming back to win handily 6-3, 6-2 and secure their trip to the state. It was good the Otters made short work of the second set as Sam Rausch was developing a migraine headache and feeling pain and nausea, but he toughed it out and he and Burns played very well to win the last five games to grab the second place medals.
“All four of our guys played very well today, Schneeberger and Schneck were the dominate players in individuals,” commented Otter coach Norm Newell. “Our doubles team also had a good day. They had a little dip in the championship match but played great tennis in the true second match to definitely earn their spot in the individual tourney. I was very proud of how Sam Rausch hung in there for his doubles partner and team. He was feeling awful and we didn’t know if he could continue after the first set of the last match, but he said he was going to do it for his partner and team and with a strong mindset over the physical pain he played quite well to run through that final set.”
The Otter team will now play in the State Class A Team Tournament Tuesday and Wednesday, June 4th and 5th, then Schneeberger, Schneck, Burns and Rausch will play in the State Class A Individual Tournament Thursday and Friday, June 6th and 7th. Both tournaments are in the Reed-Sweatt Tennis Center in Minneapolis.
The team tourney will be seeded this Thursday morning and the Otters will then know who they play and when they play on June 4th. Individual play will start at 8:00 am on Thursday June 6th.