If it can remain healthy the Brainerd Warriors boys' tennis team could repeat last year's magical run.
After a 1-10 regular season, the Warriors went on to win the North Subsection 8, Class 2A team championship, defeating Moorhead 5-2 and Alexandria and Fergus Falls by 4-3 scores.
Brainerd then lost 4-3 to Elk River for the section title.
A healthy Paul Tuchscherer is one of the keys to another magical season. The senior missed several weeks last spring with mononucleosis. He returned late last season to fuel the Warriors' surge.
Tuchscherer, who finished second in the individual section tournament and lost his only match at state, begins his sixth varsity season, three of which have been as the Warriors' first singles player.
"Paul's a great player," Warriors coach Bruce Thompson said. "He was a captain in basketball and a leader, he's a captain in tennis and a leader. We want him healthy. We lost seven 4-3 matches (in the regular season). He will make a difference. He's a guy you want to rally behind.
Head coach -- Bruce Thompson, seventh year.
Career record -- 51-41 (.554)
2002 record -- 1-10 CLC, 4-11 overall
Returning players -- Seniors Paul Tuchscherer; Mark Norman, John Benson, Shaun Kennedy, Anthony Mehr; juniors Matt Steiger, Aaron Peters; sophomores Kevin Imgrund, Sean Switajewski, Brett Travica
Assistant coaches -- Chuck Whalen, Maria Stanek.
(4:30 p.m. meets unless noted.)
15-at St. Cloud Apollo
24-at St. Cloud Tech
26-at Moorhead Inv., 9 a.m.
6-ST. CLOUD APOLLO
8-at Little Falls
13-ST. CLOUD TECH
17-BRD. INV. 9 a.m.
"He's a leader, he's a player, he's intense. He will do what it takes. He's so good at mentally, assessing his opponent and creating openings for himself. He's a cagey veteran, what you want in a senior player."
Three other seniors should be key elements of the Warriors' lineup, Mark Norman, John Benson and Shaun Kennedy.
Norman, a captain, will likely play doubles.
"Mark will have to be a solid anchor on our doubles side," Thompson said.
Benson also will be counted on to man a doubles position as will Kennedy, a state champion diver this winter.
"We haven't seen Shaun much because he's still going back and forth to the Twin Cities to dive," Thompson said. "He's got a good game. We hope he comes out confident and positive from diving and that carries over to tennis."
Others vying for positions early include junior Matt Steiger, sophomores Kevin Imgrund, Sean Switajewski and Brett Travica and Allem Mena, a foreign student from Costa Rica.
"Matt played very well last year at singles," Thompson said. "He's very solid. He will be more than mentally ready. He just destroyed a very good player from Fergus Falls last year in the team subsection. He's gotten taller. He's a leader, he's strong, he's been in the weight room, we're excited for him.
"Allem has quick feet. He has some good strokes, forehand and backhand. We need to work on his serve. We think he can help us out."
Seniors -- Paul Tuchscherer, Mark Norman, John Benson, Will Frank, Allem Mena, Anthony Mehr, Shaun Kennedy, Matt Smith
Juniors -- Matt Steiger, Matt Radniecki, Aaron Peters.
Sophomores -- Joe Henke, Brett Travica, Conrad Kragness, Kevin Imgrund, Nick Maske, Sean Switajewski, Chad Johannessohn, Andrew Mehr, Paul Kittelson, Jacob Folkeringa
Freshmen -- Brian Seipp, Jeff Smith, Justin Vogt, Jason Houle, Robbie Mitchell, Josiah Collins, Josh Mattson, Kyle Solstad, Johnathon Valesano, John Franzin, Andrew Lotzer, Shawn Steinkraus, John Gellert, Josh Holbrook, Jeremy Bock.
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