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PREP TENNIS: Senior High's Misialek has success on two different courts

Ty Misialek’s transition from basketball to tennis season took a little longer than usual this year.

Success forced the delay. Misialek was a starter on the East Grand Forks Senior High basketball team that won the Section 8AA title and advanced into the Minnesota Class AA state tournament. The resulting late tennis start hasn’t hindered the senior’s game.

“I think basketball helped my tennis,” Misialek said. “It helped me become a better athlete. And (basketball’s success) only helps your confidence.”

In basketball, it was the program’s first state appearance since 1971. In tennis, Misialek is on familiar ground; this is his third straight season playing in the state singles tournament.

Misialek said the state tournament experience is very different between the two sports.

“Basketball was more about team,” Misialek said. “And it was on a bigger stage. Playing at Williams Arena, that was a blast. It’s something I’ll never forget. In tennis, it’s more about you. School is out; it feels less like a high school event. And it will be on courts I’ve played on before.”

Misialek is a first-time Section 8A singles champion. After losing in the section final to Thief River Falls’ Logan Engelstad each of the past two seasons, Misialek beat Fergus Falls’ Dave Schneck in the 8A title match.

Misialek has placed sixth at the state singles tournament each of the past two seasons.

“I think (the basketball experience) has helped Ty,” Senior High coach Terry Paukert said. “He was that team’s floor leader. He’s more confident in his own abilities. He won’t be intimidated by anybody at state. I don’t think there’s anybody he doesn’t feel he can compete with. That’s different from in the past.

“Ty’s worked hard on his game in the offseason. He’s a better player. His ground strokes are more consistent and he’s attacking more with them. Tactically, he’s setting up points better. And physically he’s stronger, so he’s become a bigger hitter.”

Misialek plays junior Jack Dodd of Duluth Marshall in the opening round at 8 a.m. Thursday. Tennis won’t end at state for Misialek. He plans to attend UND and try out for tennis as a walk-on.

“I want to win that first one and play in the winners’ bracket,” Misialek said. “That’s my main goal. The winners’ bracket is where the tournament is. I look forward to that competition.

“Tennis is what I’ve worked hardest on. I like it more than basketball. Last summer I didn’t play baseball for the first time. I wanted to play more tennis. Tennis is my passion.”