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Boys tennis: Eyes on the prize for Litchfield as state kicks off Tuesday

The Dragons will make their first appearance as a team in state since 2018.

Litchfield No. 2 singles senior Mason Woelfel sends the ball back over the net while taking on Jack Barney of New London-Spicer as the Dragons hosted the Wildcats in Litchfield on Friday, April 29, 2022.
Litchfield No. 2 singles senior Mason Woelfel sends the ball back over the net while taking on Jack Barney of New London-Spicer as the Dragons hosted the Wildcats in Litchfield on Friday, April 29, 2022.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune
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MINNEAPOLIS — As the Litchfield High School boys tennis team heads to Minneapolis for the 2022 boys Class A state tournament Tuesday, it will be in uncharted waters.

Only one of the Dragons' 15 players — Alex Draeger — has competed in the state tournament.

Draeger, a junior for the Dragons, competed in the 2021 Class A doubles tournament with former teammate, Tyson Michels. The duo brought home a medal after finishing in third place.

However, the inexperience of the Dragons has Litchfield head coach John Carlson excited to see how things play out in the tournament.

"For me, it's always been about watching our players go through the whole process," Carlson said. "It will just be fun to see how [the team] navigates through that."

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When Litchfield makes its appearance in the state tournament, it will mark its first since 2018.

The Dragons punched their ticket into the tournament after defeating Southwest Christian 7-0 in the semifinals and St. Peter High School 5-2 in the championship of the Section 2A tournament on May 23.

As for Carlson and his Dragons, he wants them to focus on themselves as the tournament gets underway.

"People always look at winning as the ultimate expectation," Carlson said. "I've always looked at, are we going to maximize our abilities? Are we going to do what we can do? And, not try to be somebody we're not because that never works."

Litchfield (14-3) takes on Breck High School, the defending Class A team state champion, in the quarterfinals at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center.

Carlson mentioned the Dragons have played a competitive schedule this season and hopes everyone can play their best and "hold up their end of the bargain" throughout the tournament.

As far as scouting the Mustangs, Carlson does not know much about them.

"Whenever you play Breck, you play a team that knows how to play tennis. They've been drilled in the intricacies of tennis," Carlson said. "As far as knowing much about Breck, I do not know a lot about Breck other than they'll just be good tennis players in a battle."

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The main goal for Carlson and Co. is to win at least two matches and get a medal at the state tournament.

Medals are awarded to the teams that place in first, second, third or fifth.

"The goal is always to leave Minneapolis with a medal of some type," Carlson said. "You've got to win two matches."

The Dragons' first, and only, team state championship title came in 1989.

Michael Lyne joined the West Central Tribune as a sports reporter in May 2022, following his graduation from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, where he graduated with a bachelors degree in journalism and a minor degree in Spanish studies. You may reach Michael at mlyne@wctrib.com, or by calling (320) 214-4345.

Michael Lyne joined the West Central Tribune as a sports reporter in May 2022, following his graduation from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, where he graduated with a bachelors degree in journalism and a minor degree in Spanish studies.

You may reach Michael at mlyne@wctrib.com, or by calling (320) 214-4345.
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