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Orioles take fifth at State Tennis

On May 13th and 14th, the Lennox High School boys’ varsity tennis team traveled to Rapid City to compete in the State A Tournament.  

The State Tournament is set up with singles brackets for each flight #1-6 and doubles brackets for each flight #1-3.  Monday morning started off with doubles.  

For the first round, the #1 duo of Cody Plank and Eli Plank earned the #3 seed and therefore a first-round bye, which put them into the quarter finals against Spearfish.  The team started strong and took the first set 6-0.  Then at 0-1 in the second set the team had the unfortunate circumstance of Eli getting sick. Fortunately, he was able to finish the match to help secure the win and put the team into the semi-finals, but Eli then had to default the semi-finals round.  

With Eli out, Connor Sherard subbed in for the duo’s third/fourth place match on Tuesday against Aberdeen Roncalli, but the Cavaliers proved to be too strong and took the win 10-5 to give the duo a fourth place finish at flight #1 doubles.   

The team of Gunnar Geiken and Pierce Temme at flight #2 earned a #5 seed, which also gave them a first-round bye.  In the quarter finals they met up with the #4 seed from Pierre, which took the win 6-4, 6-2 to put the Lennox duo in position to play for fifth place on Tuesday.  

In their first match on Tuesday, Geiken and Temme started strong and closed out the 10-2 win over Madison.  But in the fifth place match the duo from Huron proved to be too strong as they took the 10-6 win. 

The team of Noah Welch and Mitch Van Meeteren faced off against the #6 seed from Spearfish in their first match.  They started the match strong by taking an early lead and never looked back and secured the win 6-3, 6-3 to put them into the quarter finals. There they matched up against the #3 seed form Rapid City Christian.  

The Lennox duo started off slow and lost the first set, but upped their level and had their chances to win the second set, but the Comets were too strong and got the win 6-1, 6-4.  

This put Welch and Van Meeteren in position to play for fifth place, but on Tuesday the team faced the #2 seed from St. Thomas More and dropped the match 10-4.

After the first three rounds of doubles were done, the tournament moved on to the singles competition.  At flight #1 Cody Plank earned the #4 seed, which again put him into the quarter finals where he matched up against the #5 seed from Aberdeen Roncalli.  The match was close the whole way through, but Cody was able to close out the win 6-4, 7-5 to give him a match up against the #1 seed from Sioux Falls Christian in the semi-finals. 

“This match was more competitive than the ending score, and we competed hard, but ultimately fell 6-2, 6-0,” said LHS head coach Kevin Plank. 

This set up Cody for a chance to play for third or fourth place against Huron.  Again, the match went back and forth and each player had match points to secure the win, but in the end, Huron pulled off the win 10-9 (9-7) to give Cody a fourth place finish at State.

At flight #2 Geiken also had a first round by with the #4 seed.  This put him in the quarterfinals against the #5 seed from Pierre.  This match also went back and forth with each player gaining and losing momentum throughout the match. In the end, Geiken ended up competing just enough to gut out the win 4-6, 6-3 and then 11-9 in the match tie-breaker. This put Geiken in the semi-finals facing the #1 seed from Sioux Falls Christian, which Geiken competed hard, but Christian ended up winning the match 6-0, 6-1. Geiken then played Roncalli on Tuesday for a chance at a third-place finish, but Roncalli proved to be too much and won the match10-3 to give Geiken a fourth-place finish at State.  

At flight #3 Eli Plank also earned the #4 seed and a first-round bye, which put him into the quarterfinals.  But with his illness he had to default this match.  

On Tuesday, Alex Heibult subbed in at Eli’s spot for a chance to still earn a fifth place finish. First off, Heibult took care of Milbank 10-4 and then finished off Huron 10-8 to earn the 5th place finish.  

“It’s never good when you lose a varsity player at the state tournament, but I’m proud of how Alex stepped up and competed,” said Coach Plank. “He picked the perfect time to play two of his best matches all season, it was fun to coach and watch!”

At flight #4 Temme earned the #3 seed and a spot in the quarterfinals against Roncalli.  Temme played a pretty good match, but Roncalli unfortunately played even better which earned them the win.  This put Temme in position to play for fifth place on Tuesday.  His first match Tuesday was against Milbank, in which Temme won 10-3. Temme then finished strong by earning the win against Madison 10-1 to secure the fifth place finish.  

At flight #5 Welch had a close match up against Milbank, with both players competing hard. The match was close, but in the end, Milbank earned the win 6-4, 6-3. After the loss, Welch earned his way back into the consolation finals against Pierre.  But Pierre ended up being a little too much and notched the win 10-4.

At flight #6 Van Meeteren also had a tough first round match up that he dropped against the #6 seed from Vermillion 6-2, 6-1.  But after a bye in the consolation first-round, he bounced back and had two strong wins against Spearfish 10-2 and then Pierre 10-3 to secure the consolation championship.

In the end, the Orioles finished in fifth place, and were only four points behind the fourth-place team Huron. 

“I’m super proud of how hard we competed this whole season and at the state tournament,” said Coach Plank. “It was a complete team effort all year, and especially at state.”  


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