Boys tennis: Luverne back again at state tournament

As a veteran high school coach, Luverne's Greg Antoine knows a thing or two about how expectations can become self-fulfilling prophesies. Defeatism, when it's repeated often enough, can become a tradition.For the Luverne boys tennis team, Antoine...


As a veteran high school coach, Luverne’s Greg Antoine knows a thing or two about how expectations can become self-fulfilling prophesies. Defeatism, when it’s repeated often enough, can become a tradition.
For the Luverne boys tennis team, Antoine says, “It’s just kind of the opposite end of the spiral.”
Whereas some teams can’t seem to win for losing, the Cardinals can’t seem to lose for winning.
The mentality, said Antoine, seems to be: “We’re supposed to win, so let’s go out and win.’ And they do.”
The Cardinals will compete today in the Class A Minnesota boys state tennis tournament for the seventh consecutive year. At noon, they’ll take on Foley in the first round of team events at Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center in Minneapolis.
Consolation rounds are scheduled for 4 and 6 p.m. Semifinals and finals are Wednesday.
Then on Thursday, Cardinals Erik Wohnoutka and Chris Jelken begin first-round play in the individual portion of the tournament. They’ll face Foley’s Jordan Ziwicki and Logan Scott at 10 a.m.
The individual tournament concludes Friday.
Antoine says his Cardinals are thinking positive. Though Section 3A has seldom fared well in the state tournament, where Twin Cities-area schools tend to dominate, his 2016 players believe they have a chance to do well - at least in the first round against Foley.
“They’re an out-state team like us,” said Antoine. “I think they’re kind of excited not to have to play The Blake School or Breck.”
The Blake School’s Ben Ingbar, a junior, is the No. 1 seed in the individual Class A tournament. A year ago, he was defeated in the championship match by teammate Charlie Adams, who won a third straight title.
Jack Barker, a sophomore from The Blake School, is the No. 2 seed.
The Blake School, however, did not qualify this year in the team Class A competition. Other first-round team matches have Rochester Lourdes taking on Crookston at 8 a.m., Breck vs. Hibbing at 10 a.m., and St. Paul Academy and Summit School vs. Columbia Heights at 2 p.m.
Win or lose, Luverne is justifiably proud of having represented southwest Minnesota seven straight times in the state tournament. Antoine says his players never tire of it.
“We just keep it going,” he said.
“Right now they kind of don’t want to be the ones to break the streak. ... It’s kind of expected this year, which is fun.”

Related Topics: BOYS TENNIS
Doug Wolter joined the Worthington Globe in December of 1983 as a sports reporter. He later became sports editor, and then news editor and managing editor. In 2006 he moved to Mankato with his wife, Sandy, and served as an editor at the Mankato Free Press. In 2013 he and Sandy returned to Worthington to take up the job of sports editor at The Globe, and they have been in Worthington since.

Doug can be reached at
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