Intrigue has returned to the South Dakota State Boys' Tennis Tournament and domination is a thing of the past.
This year's state tournament in Rapid City today through Saturday features more than just one heavily favored team. Both Aberdeen coaches named Sioux Falls Washington as a favorite for the title along with Sioux Falls O'Gorman, which has won the last three crowns. They both quickly added Eastern South Dakota Conference teams Watertown and Pierre to the discussion along with Rapid City Stevens and Sioux Falls Lincoln.
Aberdeen Central has a sprinkling of veteran players and some young players learning the ropes. The Eagles lineup has one senior Dan DeBoer and one junior Aaron Lorenz, along with two sophomores and three freshmen.
"We've faced all the top teams in the state," said Central coach Dana Trumm. "We played them and did the best we could. Our young kids are getting more experience. The kids we have back from last year have adjusted to tougher opponents because they are playing in higher flights."
The Golden Eagles are coming off a disappointing Eastern South Dakota Conference tournament, but hope to put that experience to good use.
"We didn't play well as a team in the ESD. I'm hoping the experience of the ESD will help us in the state tournament. The three freshmen that play for us (Matt Melemsetter, Dillon Prissel and Adam Zimmerman) had never had any ESD experience and didn't really know what to expect. I hope they play better in the state tournament," said Trumm.
Aberdeen Roncalli features seniors at the beginning of the lineup and at the end. Seniors Brian Monson, Matt Falk and Michael Ronayne hold down the top three flights of singles. Seniors Joe Reynen and Ross Barton anchor the Cavaliers at number three doubles. The squad is made up of five seniors, two juniors and one sophomore.
"Our guys have played against every team in the state that is going to be in the top five or six, except for Sioux Falls Washington," said Roncalli boys' tennis coach Mike Zerr. "The competition on our schedule is unbelievable and the depth in the state is unbelievable. Our guys have steadily gotten better. The goal at the start of the season was to peak at the state tournament and I expect our guys to give their best effort."
The Cavaliers will take eight athletes to the state tourney and will stick with the same lineup that was used during the season. Kyle Martin and Jacob Gellhaus play at singles flights five and six respectively, and don't play doubles. Reynen and Barton handle the duties at number three doubles and do not play singles.
"Five and six singles and three doubles have come together and improved a lot," said Zerr. "There's no pressure on us. We can go out and swing away and make some noise. We're peaking at the right time and the guys will give their best effort. That's been instilled in them by Judy (Rezatto) and I have continued that."
Rezatto is the longtime Roncalli tennis coach who died of cancer in March.
81st Annual S. D. State Boys' Tennis Tournament
When: Today through Saturday.
Where: Sioux Park and Parkview Tennis Complex in Rapid City.
Times: 9 a.m. on Thursday and Friday, 9 a.m. at Sioux Park and 8:30 a.m. at Parkview on Saturday.
Teams/players: 21 teams in one class/137 players.
Defending champions: Team title Sioux Falls O'Gorman, flight one singles Brad Entwistle of O'Gorman graduated, flight one doubles Entwistle-Elliott Czarnecki of O'Gorman both graduated.