With its entire starting lineup returning, the Brainerd Warriors boys' tennis team is anticipating one of its better seasons.
The Warriors are coming off a 5-7 season in the Central Lakes Conference and a 6-10 overall mark.
"We have the potential, if we decide to work at it," Brainerd coach Bruce Thompson said. "I'm not sure how mentally tough we are on the court. Last year we struggled with that a little bit. We might get in a tight match and decide not to work as hard, or we could pick up our level of play when they pick up their level of play. That's one of the things we have to find out.
"I would like to think we could be way above .500 and contend for a few things. We want to be a better team at the end than we are at the beginning, but we still want to do some winning in the meantime, every team does. I would like to say we're due for a pretty good season, but only if we work hard at it."
Head coach -- Bruce Thompson (fifth year).
2000 record -- 5-7 CLC, 6-10 overall
Returning players -- Seniors Erik Bohn, John Cairns, Brent Thompson, Chris Lauer, Torben Behmer; juniors Matt Holbrook, Chad Anderson; sophomores Shaun Kennedy, Mark Norman, Sridhar Raju, Paul Tuchscherer; freshman Matt Steiger.
Assistant coaches -- Chuck and Marnie Whalen.
(Meets at 4:30 p.m. unless noted.)
12-at St. Cloud Apollo
20-ST. CLOUD TECH
21-at Hibbing Inv., 9 a.m.
28-at Moorhead Inv., 9 a.m.
1-ST. CLOUD APOLLO
3-at Little Falls
10-at St. Cloud Tech
19-BRD INV., 9 a.m.
21-Subsection team, at Alexandria, TBD
23-Sub Section individual, at Alexandria, TBD
29-SECTION TEAM, Brainerd, TBD
30-SECTION INDIVIDUAL, Brainerd, TBD
6-9 State Tournament, TBD
Among the returnees are sophomore Paul Tuchscherer and senior Erik Bohn, who narrowly missed qualifying for the Class AA state tournament last season, losing in the Section 8AA match for true second place. They shared the team's most valuable player award last spring.
Tuchscherer was the Warriors' No. 1 singles player much of last season.
"I expect Paul to start where he left off last year," Thompson said. "He has to step up and mature a little bit. He hits the ball as well as he can but he can compete even better. You expect that out of your top players."
Bohn was hampered last spring by mononucleosis but appears to be healthy this year.
"That slowed down his game and his progress," Thompson said of Bohn's illness. "We hope as a senior he's healthy all year long. He shows some good leadership and dedication to the sport."
Other returning regulars include seniors Brent Thompson (doubles), John Cairns (singles), and Chris Lauer (singles-doubles); juniors Matt Holbrook (doubles) and Chad Anderson (singles-doubles); sophomores Shaun Kennedy (singles-doubles), Mark Norman (doubles) and Sridhar Raju (doubles); and freshman Matt Steiger (doubles). Anderson was voted the team's most improved singles player.
Brent Thompson is one of the team captains, along with Cairns and Bohn.
"Brent was in the subsection individual tournament last year," Bruce Thompson said. "He has an injured back right now, which we're dealing with. He's having treatment on it. We hope to get him healthy. He will be an important part of what we're doing. Keeping everyone healthy is an important part of it."
Cairns was voted the team's hardest worker.
"John is a nice player, a good kid, the same for Brent," Bruce Thompson said. "You expect more out of these guys, particularly because they're our seniors and our captains. They have to step up. We can't wait. There's no next year for these guys. We hope they put it all together this year and go after it."
Other varsity candidates include senior Torben Behmer, a foreign student from Germany.
Additional senior candidates include Dan Goffman, Elliott Ross, Jake Bertschi, Scott Wisniewski, Andrew Doucette.
Junior -- Nate Ebertowski.
Sophomores -- John Benson, Will Frank, Matt Smith.
Freshmen -- Cody Bohn, Matt Radniecki, Aaron Peeters.
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