by Scott DCamp
Thief River Falls won six of seven matches over Perham Tuesday at Detroit Lakes High School to claim it second consecutive Section 8A championship in boys tennis.
“The kids started off strong and ended strong,” said Head Coach Fabian Tunberg. “When you get to the section finals and play with composure and as a team, that’s what wins section titles.”
The 2019 season is the 17th consecutive to include a section championship match appearance for the Thief River Falls boys tennis team, and the section title won by the team on Tuesday is its 13th since the 2004 season.
Tuesday’s section championship match was a rematch from 2018. Last year, Perham led several matches early before Thief River Falls settled in for a 5-2 win. On Tuesday, the Prowlers never really trailed.
Cole Gillespie and Camden Broadwell each claimed the opening set of their matches by 6-1 scores. The Perham tandem of Elijah Schmidt and Zach Peterson were the next to claim a set victory, going up 1-0 in their match against Rhett and Reese Janisch in the number three doubles match after a 6-1 set win.
Thief River Falls responded by taking the lead in two other matches, with Noah Rupprecht and Dylan Hahn winning the first set 7-5 over Anthony Reese and Ryan Murphy in the number one doubles match; and Jack Onkka winning the first set of the number four singles match 6-3 over Drew Birkeland.
Ten minutes later, Gillespie closed out Perham’s Carter Cresap in the number one singles match, to officially give Thief River Falls a 1-0 lead in the dual. Around that same time, the number two doubles team of Ethan Janisch and Aiden Martell claimed the first set of their match against Landen Stephens/Dylan Fudge by a score of 6-4.
Perham tied the dual meet score 1-1, when its number three doubles team of Schmidt and Peterson closed out the Janisch twins with a 6-0 win in the second set.
Five minutes later, Broadwell gave the Prowlers a 2-1 lead in the dual with a 6-2 second set win over Josh Peterson.
“Camden Broadwell came out and beat Josh Peterson in a key match that Perham really wanted,” Tunberg said.
From there, it was all Prowlers. In a 15-minute span, Tucker Skime took a one-set lead in the number three singles match against Gunner Anderson, winning the set 6-4; Janisch and Martell closed out the number two doubles match to give the Prowlers a 3-1 lead; and Rupprecht/Hahn closed out the number one doubles matches to take a 4-1 lead in the dual.
Tunberg noted that Rupprecht and Hahn have made a habit of winning the clinching point recently. Going back to last year’s section and state tournament, Rupprecht and Hahn have won the fourth point of the dual in six of the Prowlers last seven post season matches.
Onkka dropped the second set in his match to Birkeland by a 6-2 score, but rallied to win the tiebreaker 11-9 to push Thief River Falls’ lead in the dual to 5-1. Skime closed out his match with Anderson by winning the second set in the number three singles match 6-2, to give the Prowlers a 6-1 dual meet win. Thief River Falls will open state tournament play against St. Paul Academy at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 4.
Thief River Falls 6, Perham 1
Singles – Cole Gillespie (TRF) Carter Cresap 6-1, 6-1; Camden Broadwell (TRF) def. Josh Peterson 6-1, 6-2; Tucker Skime (TRF) def. Gunnar Anderson 6-4, 6-2; Jack Onkka (TRF) def. Drew Birkeland 6-3, 2-6, 11-9.
Doubles – Noah Rupprecht/Dylan Hahn (TRF) def. Anthony Reese/Ryan Murphy 7-5, 6-3; Ethan Janisch/Aiden Martell (TRF) def. Landon Stevens/Dylan Fudge 6-4, 6-1; Elijah Schmidt/Zach Peterson (P) def. Reece Janisch/Rhett Janisch 6-1, 6-0.