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BOYS TENNIS: Prowlers are Section 8A champs for the 11th consecutive season

Thief River Falls’ state-tournament streak is alive.


Thanks to a 6-1, 1-6, 7-5 victory by eighth-grader Carter Onkka and freshman Michael Magnusson at No. 3 doubles, the Prowlers are Section 8A champs for the 11th consecutive season.

Thief River Falls edged Fergus Falls 4-3 to earn a berth at the state tournament, which will be played in the Twin Cities in two weeks.

“We beat them 5-2 during the regular season, but we knew it was going to be close,” first-year coach Joe Wasfaret said. “It was a little too nerve-wracking, but it was fun.”

Fergus Falls is new to Section 8A and pushed the Prowlers to the limit thanks to strong singles play. But Thief River Falls won all three doubles matches.

Devin Hutton and Issac Olson won in straight sets at No. 1 doubles. Issac Dvergsten and Nick Onkka did the same at No. 2 doubles.

Things were a bit dicey at No. 3 doubles, where Carter Onkka and Magnusson split sets, then outlasted Nathan Kaminski-Horak and Nick Houge in a tight third set.

“It was a little intense with an eighth-grader and a ninth-grader out there,” Wasfaret said. “It is their first year of varsity. It’s good for them experience-wise. To have all the other guys cheering them on, it was pretty exciting.

“They’ve played in a ton of these matches this year. They haven’t won easily. But they’ve always found their way.”

The Prowlers reached the final by beating East Grand Forks Senior High 5-2 in the semifinals. Fergus Falls beat Crookston 4-3 to reach the finals.

“They were a pretty good, talented team,” Wasfaret said of Fergus Falls. “They were in state last year in another section. They are going to give us a run for our money every year.”

That was certainly the case Tuesday.

Brad Elliott Schlossman

Schlossman is in his 12th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2016, he was named the top beat writer in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He has voted in the national college hockey poll since 2007 and has served as a member of the Hobey Baker and Patty Kazmaier Award committees.

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