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2014 Spring Preview: Depth at singles a key for Park boys tennis team

A strong group of returning upperclassmen bodes well for the Park boys tennis team.

“We should have tremendous depth with our singles line-up, including Mekdim DeJene and Pele Le,” Wolfpack coach Tony Townsend said.

Both DeJene and Le earned all-conference honors in singles competition for 2013. Senior team captain Sam Forthun also returns, and senior Michael Nguyen gives them more depth.

Doubles remains a question mark for the Wolfpack with the graduation of Lucas Lindstrom, David Link and Jacob Elliott.

“We will be looking for some players to step up on the doubles side as we try to find the right chemistry and fill some holes from last year’s senior class,” Townsend said.

DeJene played doubles last season with Elliott and reached the Section 3AA quarterfinals. They also had the only match win for the Wolfpack in their team section tournament match with Eastview, a 6-1 loss.

As a team, the Wolfpack went 7-8 last year, Townsend’s third as coach. The Wolfpack beat Stillwater and White Bear Lake during the season. A couple of 4-3 losses to Forest Lake and Hastings hurt the Wolfpack’s positioning for section play.

Townsend anticipates that Mounds View and East Ridge will be the frontrunners in the Suburban East Conference. Both the Raptors and Eagan Wildcats are the teams to beat in the section.

If weather cooperates, the Wolfpack will get a chance to avenge last year’s loss to Hastings on April 15. Games against Stillwater on April 22 and April 24 at Forest Lake will be key in the SEC standings.

The Wolfpack also play Farmington in non-conference play on April 11 (weather pending), a team they swept 7-0 last year. Simley and St. Paul Como Park will also face the Wolfpack in non-conference competition during a busy week for the green-and-white. They have four matches that week between April 20-26.

—Matthew Davis

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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