Rick Engelstad is heading into his 18th year as the Varsity Dragon Tennis coach and this year is looking up to be another successful season in the coach's record books.
Last year the Dragons went 13-1 and came up just short of a trip to the state tournament. They will look to replace those who they lost to graduation and use the solid group of returners to get to the state tournament.
2019 Dragon Tennis Season Preview:
Last Year’s Overall Record: 13 - 1
Last years postseason results: Lost in the section finals to Litchfield
The Dragons graduated: Jared Kotek, Jonah Bergstrom, Beau Steele were on the varsity squad last year. Great young men who were dedicated to our dragon tennis program. Also Junior: Jon Zahradka a foreign exchange student.
Finish in the Conference: 1st in the Granite Ridge
Returning Starters or Letterman:
We are fortunate to have a solid group of returning letterman / starters back this year.
Jake Adams 12
Dustin Bergstrom 11
Alex Laven 11
Nathaniel Webster 11
Tanner Wicktor 11
Sully Lucht 11
Derek Clementson 11
Parker Sell 10
Peyton Smetana 10
Jared Carpenter 10
Caleb Stumne 10
The rest of the Dragon Tennis Team:
Juniors: Ahtto Berg, Colin Maiwurm, Josh Rike
9th Grader: Hunter Danielson, Seth Linnell, Mason Mikyska
8th Graders: Billy Brown, McCoy Leger
7th Graders: Oscarr Gribauval, Greyson Johnson, Tyler Mohr, Caden Schlichting, Christian Swanson, Spencer Wicktor
Conference, Local, and Sectional Favorites:
Section favorites: Litchfield, they are the defending section champion. Pine City and Foley will be right there with them. We are still in section 6A this year.
Conference favorites: Becker, Foley and Pine City will be the favorites.
Postseason Section Comments: Same section as last year --- section 6A.
Teams Strengths and Weaknesses:
Great team chemistry
A LOT OF YOUNG hungry players, who are eager to improve and play
Leadership - very positive and experienced
Overall: A great group to be around and coach
SNOW ON COURTS!!
Need to play more to get match ready.
We need to find the right combinations.
Consistency: Players need to give themselves a chance to win points.
Keys to a successful season for the Dragon Tennis team
1. Team Chemistry
2. Players being versatile, able play doubles or singles, based on the needs of the team
3. Giving 100% during practice – making teammates better.
4. The Dragons need to add tools to their tool box! (work on new skills!)
This year the varsity boys schedule is busy -- we have a full schedule. Our varsity schedule is traditionally strong. It is the belief of the Dragon Tennis program that the stronger the teams are you play during the regular season, the more prepared you will be come playoff time. This has been a longstanding tradition with the Dragon Tennis program.
Saturday, April 13th Pine City is hosting a Pine City Quad.
Teams: Duluth Marshall, Coon Rapids, Cambridge-Isanti and Pine City.
Saturday, April 27th Hibbing tournament.
Saturday, May 4th Pine City is hosting the 26th Annual Art Nelson Classic.
Teams: Thief River Falls, Hibbing, Litchfield, St. Peter, Delano, Crookston, Mounds Park Academy, and Pine City. These are all teams that have excellent tennis traditions. Not including the state tournament, the Art Nelson tournament is traditionally the best Class A tournament in the state. The Dragon Tennis program would like to thank Bill Nelson for the continued sponsorship of the Art Nelson tournament.
Early in the season
Getting on the courts and hitting balls.
Finding a couple line-ups we can use, there are many possibilities. Putting the pieces of the puzzle together. Good thing I love wildlife jigsaw puzzles!!
Getting our matches in. Spring weather? You never know what will happen. After the past 5 years, I will never count out that white stuff!
Late in the season: For everyone to be peeking and healthy at tournament time.
Any other Comment: As a coaching staff we are fortunate to have a group of boys who are very excited about the sport of tennis and who work very hard at practice.
Major Team Goals:
Compete for the team conference title
Compete for the team section finals
Photo Credit Lancelot Furber