A closer look at Thief River Falls’ path to a state runner-up finish

by Scott DCamp

Sports Editor

Thief River Falls won a pair of tightly contested dual meets in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds of the state tennis tournament before falling in the

championship match. Here is a closer look at the two-day boys state tennis tournament.

Tuesday, June 5

11:45 a.m. – Members of the Thief River Falls and Luverne tennis teams

gather for introductions and a s

hort meeting with tournament officials. The Reed-Sweatt Tennis Center features 11 total courts, but courts three, six and 10 have been converted into viewing courts with bleachers. Courts one, two, four and five are used for singles matches. Courts seven, eight and nine are used for doubles matches, with court 11 being used for exhibition matches. Thief River Falls sticks with the same team lineup it used for sections: Cole Gillespie, Carter Onkka, Tucker Skime and Camden Broadwell playing the one through four singles spots; and Zach Twamley/Jack Onkka, Dylan Hahn/Noah Rupprecht, and Ethan Janisch/Aiden Martell playing one

through three doubles.

12:03 p.m. – Warmups are underway. Participants are given a 15

minute warmup period and in tennis, opponents warm up by hitting shots to each other at a pace that gradually progresses toward a live match pace.

12:15 p.m. – Matches are about to begin as the final practice serves are completed.

12:40 p.m. – Matches are underway and Luverne has

an early lead in three of the four singles matches. The only exception is the number one singles match, wher

e Carter Onkka has already dominated the first set 6-0 and the second set is underway. On the doubles side, Luverne is working to close out the first set in number one singles.

1:00 p.m. – Luverne goes up by a set in the number one doubles match and the three and four singles matches. Meanwhile Carter Onkka and Mark Robinson of Luverne have battled to a

6-6 first set that will need to be decided by a tiebreaker. 1:21 p.m. – Two matches are in the b

ooks. Carter Onkka bagels Cade VerSteeg, 6-0, 6-0 to give Thief River Falls a 1-0 lead. Minutes later, Luverne gets on the board with a win at number one singles with Luke Jarchow/Matt Jelken defeating Zach Twamley/Jack Onkka, 6-3, 6-2. Gillespie lost the tiebreak to Robi

nson and trails by a set. The number two doubles team of Hahn and Rupprecht trails 6-5 in the first set. Thief River Falls is up a set in number three doubles, and down a set in three and four singles.

1:30 p.m. – Skime loses in two sets, 6-3, 6-2, to Luverne’s Jim Erickson, as the Cardinals take a 2-1 lead in the dual. 1:33 p.m. – Janisch and Martell defeat Matt Sehr/Graham Cunningham of Lu

verne 6-4, 6-2, to tie the dual 2-2. Meanwhile, Hahn and Rupprecht have rallied from a 6-5 deficit to win the first set at number two doubles in a 7-3 tiebreaker to go up by one set.

1:47 p.m. – Camden Broadwell has taken over hi

s match against Trey Baustian in number four singles. After dropping the first set 6-3, and trailing 3-0 in the second set, he wins 11 straigh

t games to claim the second set and lead 5-0 in the third set. 1:52 p.m. – Camden “The C

-Train” Broadwell

makes it 12 games in a row as he claims the third set 6-0 to give Thief River Falls a 3-2 lead in the dual.

1:59 p.m. – Gillespie loses the second set in number one singles 6-4 to Robinson as Luverne ties the dual.

2:06 p.m. – A sizeable crowd has gathered around court nine to watch the remainder of the number two doubles match. Hahn and Rupprecht win the set 6-4 to give Thief River Falls a 4-3 dual meet victory.

Wednesday, June 6

9:45 a.m. – Thief River Falls and Litchfield players gather on court one for introductions prior to the state semifinal dual.

11:05 a.m. – Litchfield’s Zach Kaizer and Logan Graphenteen win number one doubles 6-1, 6-0, to put the Dragons up 1-0. Thief River Falls wins the first set in the number two and four singles matches, and two and three doubles matches. Litchfield is up a set in one and three singles.

11:13 a.m. – Litchfield’s Jordan Green wins the number three singles match, defeating Tucker Skime 6-1, 6

-2, to give the Dragons a 2-0. Despite the team deficit, the Prowlers lead four of the five remaining matches.

11:18 a.m. – Carter Onkka wins the number two singles match to get the Prowlers on the board. Onkka won the first set 6-2, but trailed 5-1 in the second before closing out Matthew Wedin by winning the last six games.

11:20 a.m. – Janisch and Martell win number three doubles, 7-5, 6-2, over Alex Gruenke-Be

n Nelson to give Thief River Falls to tie the dual 2-2. The Prowlers are up a set in number two doubles and number four singles, while the Dragons are up a set in number one singles.

11:31 a.m. – Broadwell defeats Griffin Kinny, 6-3, 6-4 in straight sets to give Thief River Falls a 3-2 lead. After losing the first set 6-2, Litchfield’s number two doubles team of Jack Osterberg and Payton Prahl win the second set 6-4 to force a third set.

11:44 a.m. – After losing the first set 6-4, Gillespie wins the second set against Litchfield’s Trevor Meyer to force a third set. Both remaining matches are in the third set with Thief River Falls leading the dual 3-2.

12:03 p.m. – Hahn and Rupprecht have taken the third set of the number two doubles match by a score of 6-1 to clinch a semifinal team victory. Gillespie has also taken control of his match and holds a 3-1 lead. 12:18 p.m. – Gillespie wins the third set 6-1 to give Thief River Falls one more win in the dual. The Prowlers win 5-2 over the Litchfield Dragons to advance to their first ever state championship match.

3:45 p.m. – Introductions for the state championship match begin. Both of Thief River Falls’ opponents have reached the medal round and their tournaments have concluded. Its first round opponent, Luverne, lost 4-3 to St. Peter in the consolation championship match; and Litchfield fell 6-1 to St. Paul Academy & Summit School in the third place match.

4:25 p.m. – It is apparent early on that Rochester Lourdes is on another level compared to the rest of the state tournament field. Shots that would normally be point winners are returned with relative ease.

4:59 p.m. – Rochester Lourdes’ team of Pavao Veldic and Nick Pittner win number one doubles. Lourdes is up a set in five of the other sixth matches.

5:06 p.m. – Rochester Lourdes’s Eric Chestolowski wins number two singles over Carter Onkka 6-1, 6-1, to put his team in front 2-0.

5:09 p.m. – Rochester Lourdes wins the number three and four singles matches within minutes of finishing the number two singles match. Skime falls to Jonathan Onigkeit 6-1, 6-1 in the number three singles match; and Broadwell falls to Marjan Vledic in the number four singles match.

5:19 p.m. – Gillespie falls 6-2, 6-0 to Kevin Turlington in number one singles; and Hahn/Rupprecht fall to Thomas Eckel-Freddie Suhler 6-0, 6-1 in number two singles. 5:26 – Thief River Falls’ number three doubles team of Janisch/Martell defeat Birch Lewis & Yisrael Morris, 6-2, 7-5 to avoid the shutout.