Tennis boys seek state return

Team, individual section play wraps up this week

A Section 7AA semifinal against Hibbing awaited the Ranger boys’ tennis team this Tuesday, May 29.

After sweeping St. Francis in the first round of the playoffs, the defending section champs reached the round of four by topping Chisago Lakes 5-2 here last Tuesday.

The Wildcats earned their victories at No. 4 singles and No. 3 doubles. Winning handily for the Rangers were singles players Dusty Boyer, Toby Boyer and Zack Decker.

In doubles play, Zak Buckley and Ryan Renard won 6-2, 6-2 at the top position, while Austin Riedeman and Hunter Shortly came back to win after trailing 0-6, 1-4.

Coach Greg Patchin expected the semifinal match against Hibbing to be close. The Rangers beat the Bluejackets 5-2 in early May, but Hibbing was without two key players.

“Seniors Nate Riedeman, Zak Buckley and Ryan Renard have been playing well and will quite likely determine whether we get a chance at Elk River,” Patchin said.

The Elks, ranked No. 1 in the state, were expected to get past Duluth East in the other semifinal. The championship match also took place on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the individual section tournament is set to wrap up this Wednesday. Two of Forest Lake’s four entrants advanced through the first two rounds. Top-seeded Dusty Boyer faced Kyle Stupka of Duluth Denfeld Wednesday morning in his quest for a fifth consecutive section singles championship.

In the doubles quarterfinals, Toby Boyer and Decker faced Bauer LeSavage and Michael Liliberte of Duluth East.

“The doubles draw will be highly competitive as the Elk River pairs are defending Section 8 champions, Andover’s top two look sharp and the daunting task will be whether Zack and Toby can elevate their games enough to get one of the two spots,” Patchin said. “The north side of the draw is loaded as well with Grand Rapids, Hibbing and Duluth East all putting their best players in doubles. It will be fun.”

See for results from both the team and individual competitions. The Class AA state tournament runs from next Tuesday-Thursday at the University of Minnesota’s Baseline Tennis Center. If Dusty Boyer qualifies, he will be competing for an unprecedented fourth state title.

UPDATE: Elk River beat Forest Lake 6-1 in the section finals on Tuesday.