The Pine City Boys Tennis team is getting set for another season. Head coach Rick Engelstad is heading into his 17th year as the boys head coach. Engelstad is assisted by Josh Louden and Dennis Howard with John Eberhart volunteering as well.
The team is coming off an 11-4 season where the fell in the section semifinals to Foley. Pine City graduated Santiago Ospino and Jake Lindblom off that squad. The Dragons ended up 3rd in the Granite Ridge Conference.
Pine City is fortunate to return back several starters from last year's team including Jared Kotek, Jonah Bergstrom, Jake Adams, Dustin Bergstrom, Alex Laven, Nathaniel Webster, Tanner Wicktor, Sully Lucht, Parker Sell, and Peyton Smetana.
From Head Coach Rick Engelstad:
Conference, Local, and Sectional Favorites:
Section favorites: Litchfield (the defending champion) is the favorite of our section and then Pine City and Foley will be right there with them. The Dragons are still in section 6A this year.
Conference favorites: A very talented team in the Granite Ridge will be Becker.
Teams Strengths and Weaknesses:
From Head Coach Rick Engelstad:
Great team chemistry
A LOT OF YOUNG hungry players, who are eager to improve and play
Leadership - very positive and experienced
Overall: A great group to be around and coach
SNOW ON COURTS!!
Need to play more to get match ready.
Youth - will need matches to gain experience.
We need to find the right combinations.
Consistency: Players need to give themselves a chance to win points.
Keys to a successful season for the Dragon Tennis team
1. Team Chemistry
2. Players being versatile - able play doubles or singles, based on the needs of the team
3. Giving 100% during practice – making teammates better.
4. The Dragons need to add tools to their tool box! (work on new skills!)
This year the varsity boys schedule is busy -- we have a full schedule. Our varsity schedule is traditionally strong. It is the belief of the Dragon Tennis program that the stronger the teams are you play during the regular season, the more prepared you will be come playoff time. This has been a longstanding tradition with the Dragon Tennis program.
Saturday, April 21st Pine City is hosting a Pine City Invitational.
Teams: Aitkin, Big Lake, Eveleth-Gilbert, Mora, Schaeffer Academy, Mounds View, Virginia, and Pine City.
Saturday, April 28th Hibbing tournament.
Saturday, May 5th Pine City is hosting the 25th Annual Art Nelson Classic.
Teams: Thief River Falls, Hibbing, Litchfield, St. Peter, Delano, Crookston, Mounds Park Academy, and Pine City. These are all teams that have excellent tennis traditions. Not including the state tournament, the Art Nelson tournament is traditionally the best Class A tournament in the state. The Dragon Tennis program would like to thank Bill Nelson for the continued sponsorship of the Art Nelson tournament.
Early in the season
Getting on the courts and hitting balls.
Finding a couple line-ups we can use, there are many possibilities. Putting the pieces of the puzzle together. Good thing I love wildlife jigsaw puzzles!!
Getting our matches in. Spring weather? You never know what will happen. After the past 4 years, I will never count out that white stuff!
Late in the season: For everyone to be peeking and healthy at tournament time.
As a coaching staff we are fortunate to have a group of boys who are very excited about the sport of tennis and who work very hard at practice.
Major Team Goals:
Compete for the team conference title
Compete for the team section finals