BROOKINGS — The Yankton High School boys’ tennis team made history on Friday.
Paced by three individual champions, the Bucks captured second place at the Eastern South Dakota Tennis Championships in Brookings to record the best conference showing in school history.
Brandon Valley won the team title with 354 points, but the Bucks finished second at 265. Mitchell was third at 141, while Aberdeen Central (119) and Huron (118) rounded out the top-five.
“It was a beautiful day for tennis and the guys played exceptionally hard,” Yankton head coach Ryan Hage said. “We had a really good singles showing.”
Senior Cole Sawatzke won the flight four singles title, while freshman Gage Becker was the champion at flight five and junior Nick Gregoire captured the flight six singles title.
“I can’t remember if we’ve ever done that before,” Hage said. “To put four in the finals and have three of the four win their match, that’s impressive.”
Not only did the Bucks crown three champions, each one did so in come-from-behind fashion, Hage added.
“All three of them had to play from behind at multiple points, but they were able to dig down deep and ultimately get the job done,” he said.
Also for the Bucks, senior Michael Frick was the runner-up at flight two, while senior Sam Mooney was fourth in flight one and senior Isaac Klimisch took sixth place in flight three.
In doubles action, Yankton got a runner-up finish from Frick and Mooney at flight two. Sawatzke and Klimisch were third in flight two, and Becker and Gregoire finished third in flight three.
After the singles portion of the tournament, the Bucks were 8-9 points out of first place, according to Hage.
“We positioned ourselves pretty well to make a run at the title,” he said. “Unfortunately in doubles, a couple things didn’t go our way. We finished fine, but just couldn’t quite capitalize when we needed to.”
The goal now for Yankton is to carry Friday’s momentum into the South Dakota State Tournament, which will be held next Thursday through Saturday in Brandon and Sioux Falls.
“We scored a lot of points today, and I think it sets us up pretty well for state,” Hage said.