Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

SF Lincoln Patriots claim 2023 ‘AA’ girls tennis title

Tim Tushla
South Dakota Public Broadcasting

Sioux Falls Lincoln won its 16th state girls tennis title on Friday at Tomar Park in Sioux Falls. For the Patriots, they’ve come up short of a state championship the past two years.

“It’s always fun,” said Lincoln head tennis coach Tom Krueger. “We haven’t won it in a couple years now, so it’s fun to get it back.”

As far as the team standings go, Lincoln finished in first with 432 points. Rapid City Stevens, who came into this year’s tournament as the back-to-back champs in ‘AA’ girls tennis, came in second with 402.5 points. Mitchell placed third with 372.5, Sioux Falls Jefferson had 318 points in the fourth place spot, and then Aberdeen Central rounded out the top-5 with a score of 269.

Coach Krueger acknowledged the friendly rivalry that has developed with Jason Olson and the Raiders of Rapid City Stevens.

“It’s gotten to be pretty good for the last, however many years I’ve been here,” said Krueger. “It’s kind of always kind of been [Rapid City Stevens] and us, and O’Gorman up there. Lately, [Rapid City Stevens] had super strong teams, they were super strong again this year, so they’re always good.”

In total, Sioux Falls Lincoln only won three flights, one in singles and two in doubles.

“I was a little surprised. We only lost ten or eleven individual matches throughout the whole year, so to only win three flights was kind of a surprise,” explained Krueger. “But we never focus on the titles, it’s always just play your best, do what you can do, and let the score take care of itself. Act with integrity, treat your opponent’s well, that’s what we really focus on.”

Angela Ge was the singles flight 6 champion. Eloise Geraets placed runner-up in singles flight 1, while Charlotte Crawford and Grace Miner took third in their flights – Crawford in singles flight 2 and Miner in singles flight 4. Bergen Quello then took fifth in singles flight 3, while Julia Hedrick placed fifth in singles flight 5.

The team of Geraets and Crawford won the Doubles Flight 1 championship, while the team of Hedrick and Ge took home the title in Doubles Flight 3. Quello and Miner placed fourth in Doubles Flight 2.

Thursday’s weather conditions were windy with slightly chilly temps. But on Friday, temperatures in the low 40’s and strong winds forced doubles action indoors. The action moved back outdoors in the early afternoon, which is where the singles flights completed the rest of their matches. Temperatures remained in the 40’s, and strong winds came and went during the singles placement and championship matches.

“[Weather’s] a factor, but it’s a factor equally,” Krueger stated. “We’re always switching sides, so you can’t say ‘the wind was against me.’ Everybody has the exact same conditions – it’s South Dakota.”

Bergen Quello is the lone starting senior on this year’s Patriots team. Coach Krueger took a moment to talk about how special his squad from this year was.

This group of girls are so, so nice, and special. They conduct themselves the way they are. I’m proud to be walking on the court and talking to them, I’m proud to be on the podium with them, and I’m proud to be their coach,” exclaimed Krueger. “It’s always such a special group of kids, and this group is phenomenal.”

This is Sioux Falls Lincoln’s 16th state girls tennis title. On the boy’s side, the Patriots have won 21 state tennis championships. This spring, Lincoln will attempt to win their 10th straight.

For full results of the 2023 'AA' girls state tennis tournament, click here.

Nate Wek is currently the sports content producer and sports and rec beat reporter for South Dakota Public Broadcasting. He is a graduate of South Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism Broadcasting and a minor in Leadership. From 2010-2013 Nate was the Director of Gameday Media for the Sioux Falls Storm (Indoor Football League) football team. He also spent 2012 and 2013 as the News and Sports Director of KSDJ Radio in Brookings, SD. Nate, his wife Sarah, and two kids Braxan and Jordy, live in Canton, SD.