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2013 Spring Preview: Park boys tennis team brings back bulk of roster

Mekdim DeJene, a sophomore who has been the top player for the Wolfpack the past two seasons, is back to lead the Wolfpack this season.

Off a 7-10 season a year ago, the Park boys tennis team could be one to watch in the 2013 spring season.

"We are a senior and junior dominated team with a lot of experience coming back," said Tony Townsend, in his third year as head coach of the Wolfpack. "My players have worked extremely hard during the offseason and are willing to battle each and every match."

Among its seven wins last season, Park beat Simley, 4-3, head 6-1 wins over Como Park and Farmington, and 7-0 wins over Tartan, Richfield and St. Paul Johnson. The Wolfpack also lost close, 4-3 conference matches to Stillwater and Forest Lake.

Back at the top of the lineup will be Mekdim DeJene, a sophomore who has been the top player for the Wolfpack the past two seasons, and senior Jake Elliot. DeJene and Elliot - a team captain this season - paired up in last year's postseason and made some noise in the Section 3AA tournament.

Park also welcomes back team captains Lucas Lindstrom, David Link and Charlie Link. Also, other players to watch include Pele Le, Sam Forthun and Alec Strauss.

The team, however, will be without 2012 graduates Alex Rachner and Scott Johnston this season. Johnston and Le represented Park in the section tournament as singles players a year ago.

This year, it's expected Mounds View and East Ridge should be the teams to beat in the Suburban East Conference, however, other teams like Woodbury should be tough as well.

"The Suburban East conference will be very solid from top to bottom," Townsend said.

In the section tournament, Townsend said he thought Bloomington Jefferson and Eagan should be the teams to beat.

Park hopes to begin the season at home on Thursday, April 4, against non-conference foe Farmington. The team then has what should be a good match on the road at St. Paul Como Park on Wednesday, April 10. The Wolfpack's first SEC match comes on April 11 at East Ridge. Other key matches include: at Woodbury on April 18, at Forest Lake on April 25, at home against Roseville on May 2 and at home against White Bear Lake on May 9.