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The East Ridge boys tennis team stayed unbeaten with a 7-0 win over Suburban East Conference foe White Bear Lake on Tuesday, April 22, and a first-place finish at the eight-team SOWASHCO Invite on Saturday, April 26. (Submitted photo)

East Ridge boys tennis: Raptors remain unbeaten in 2014

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The East Ridge boys tennis team stayed undefeated with a 7-0 win over Suburban East Conference foe White Bear Lake on Tuesday, April 22, and a first-place finish at the eight-team SOWASHCO Invite on Saturday, April 26.


In Tuesday’s match against White Bear Lake, East Ridge freshman Ben Van der sman won 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 at No. 1 singles, junior Vishaal Gupta won 6-2, 6-1 at second singles, sophomore Nikhil Gupta won 6-0, 6-0 at third singles and freshman Nitin Venkatish won 6-0, 6-4 at fourth singles. In doubles play, the Raptors’ top tandem of seniors Greg Sharrow and Zekeria Nigatu won 6-2, 6-3, while junior Riley Pratt and senior Evan Lu won 6-0, 6-0 at second doubles and seniors Aaron Christianson and Phillip Cai won 6-0, 0-6, 7-6(6) at third doubles.

“The decision to carry 15 players on varsity this year has proven to be a good decision,” said East Ridge head coach Suzie Heidman. “There are so many close players who are pushing each other at practices, and showing their talent in matches as well, that I’m faced with tough decisions, as to who will play the counting positions in each match. I’m really proud of these guys, as well as some of our JV players who have been called up as well to play and practice with us. I’m excited for our tennis program at East Ridge. We’ve got 65 guys out this year and they are all eager to play and get better.”

Following the win over White Bear Lake, East Ridge edged Shakopee to win the SOWASHCO Invite on Saturday. East Ridge scored 38 points. Shakopee scored 37 points. St. Thomas Academy scored 35 points to take third and Woodbury was fourth with 31 points.

“Super proud of the flexibility and effort of my players in every position,” Heidman said. “We had another new line-up, as we were missing some due to prom. It was great to see others step up and show our depth.”

For East Ridge, freshman Anuraag Bukkuri finished in second place, Vishaal Gupta took second place at No. 2 singles, Venkatish won the consolation championship at third singles and junior Saarthak Madan finished in sixth place at fourth singles. In doubles action, Sharrow and Gupta finished in second place at No. 1 doubles, freshman Cormac Dolezal and junior Hanting Guo finished in third place at second doubles and senior Aaron Christianson and freshman Evan Fridinger earned first place at third doubles.

East Ridge’s much anticipated matchup with rival Woodbury on Thursday was unable to happen because of rain. The make-up match will be played on May 7.

With more rain in the forecast this week, East Ridge was set to play Eastview on Monday and Cretin-Derham Hall on Tuesday, after the Bulletin went to print. The Raptors’ next scheduled match in Thursday, May 1, at Forest Lake.

—Patrick Johnson

Patrick Johnson
Patrick Johnson has been the South Washington County Bulletin’s sports editor since 2008. He reports on and oversees coverage of high school and amateur sports in south Washington County and Woodbury. Prior to joining the Bulletin, Johnson worked for other Twin Cities suburban newspapers. He is a University of Minnesota graduate.
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