06 June 2014

Boys Tennis: A near-record seson

Bennett Lagro: MVP and all-Missota Conference
By any measure the 2014 season was a big success for coach Jack Olwell and his Tiger boys' tennis team.

Farmington finished 8-6 in regular season dual meet play, its best mark since 1999, and went 3-4 in the rugged Missota Conference, its best showing in recent years.

"I thought we would be better this year, but I underestimated how much better," Olwell said. "The epiphany came when we beat Simley 6-1. They beat us 7-0 last year with essentially the same team...We took some lumps early but we never lost heart."

Thirteen players and one student manager received varsity letters for their efforts during the weather-plagued 2014 season, including six seniors: Jon Zaksoki, Trent Kortenbusch, Austin Tremmel, Ivan Rodriguez, Jake Spindler and Nicolas Makhoul.

Underclassmen letterwinners included junior Garrett Brown; sophomores Bennett Lagro, Grady Hauswirth, Cooper Ericksen and Anthony Rattana; eighth-grader Jake Bauer; seventh-grader Gavin Renwick and manager Ryan Jara.

Lagro, who manned the demanding No. 1 singles spot all season, earned team MVP honors and landed a spot on the all-Missota Conference squad.

"Bennett was just the fifth Farmington No. 1 singles player player to finish with a .500 record in my 35 year years here," Olwell said, "and the first to be all-conference in the last decade."

Jake Bauer: all-conference honorable mention, Tiger Award winner
Bauer, who played at second singles, was all-conference honorable mention and the recipient of the Tiger Award for positive attitude and work ethic.

Rodriguez, Renwick and Ericksen shared Player of the Year honors. Zakoski, who received Academic All-State distinction, Tremmel and Kortenbusch served as captains of the 2014 squad.

"We had seven players, including all four at singles, finish at or above .500," Olwell said. "You have to go back 21 years to find that, so this was a fine and fun year.

"The best part for me was the degree to which our players were committed to the game and to each other."

Olwell said his seniors will be missed but he expects another quality season in 2015.

"It has been my experience that younger players serve as understudies to the seniors and often fill in admirably," he said.

The Tigers will have to adjust to new opposition next spring with their move to the South Suburban Conference.

"I'm not sure of the competition level there but it looks like it will be pretty stiff," Olwell said.