The News of The Blake School Since 1916

The Spectrum

The News of The Blake School Since 1916

The Spectrum

The News of The Blake School Since 1916

The Spectrum

Minneapolis


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Elated Tennis Team Battles in Top Competition

Fighting for a top class state championship
Sam+Leslie+24+hits+a+high+backhand+in+a+match+against+Providence.
Steven Cao
Sam Leslie ’24 hits a high backhand in a match against Providence.

The Blake Boys Tennis Team is one of the best teams in the state. Currently, they are ranked 3rd in the top class, class AA, which consists of extremely well-rounded teams like Wayzata (ranked 1st in state) and Edina (ranked 5th in state). The team wrapped up the regular season undefeated with a record of 13-0. The team’s history is rich, with their most recent achievement being the 3rd place team winner in last year’s State Tournament. Beyond that, the team won the 2018 state championship in Class AA and are 17x Class A champions. After their amazing run last year, which included a major upset versus Edina in the Section Championship, the team is ready to make noise. This year means a little more to the players as this is the last season of their award-winning coach, Ted Warner. Coach Warner has been coaching for 30 years and is a major reason for the team’s success. He has put time and effort into making Blake Boys Tennis known throughout Minnesota. He’s established a winning culture that has encouraged players to strive to be the best versions of themselves on and off the court. When asked about how the coaching of Ted Warner has impacted him the most, Sai Buddi’25, a captain on the team, said “He’s been a coach for so long that he’s really good at getting to know players and what they need to work on and I think that that’s the reason that like the coaching of Ted has impacted me the most. He can break down what’s going on with my game even though it’s not technically wise or tactically.” Zach Dresner’27 added on saying “My volleys and transition volleys have gotten exponentially better…I utilize what he teaches me…all year round.” As Coach Warner’s generational run is coming to an end, winning a state title this year would be extremely meaningful. Buddi said “We really want to end it with a win for him so I think it’s motivating us. Even practices are more intense than normal.” Dresner said “Everybody on the team is trying to be their best this year to try to make state for our coach…we’re just trying to give the best year possible.” The team is highly motivated to end this season with a state championship to honor the legacy of their coach. Players are putting in their best effort during practice and games to achieve their big goal. The 2022-2023 season for the team was one that is memorable for the ages. Earlier in the regular season, the boys suffered a nail-biting loss to Edina. Edina is in the same section as Blake, and to make the state tournament, the boys must play them in sections. That year, the boys were able to make the section championship and face off with their rivals once again, Edina. The team beat Edina who were heavy favorites to win. When asked about how the team overcame their loss in the regular season and end up beating Edina, Buddi said “We just focused on playing a cleaner game than Edina and I think it was also that we had a chip on our shoulders that Edina didn’t. They knew that they were the favorites when us, we knew that we just needed to play better than last time.” Graham Everett’26 said “We came into the match ready to play. We were fired up, a lot of energy, and they just weren’t ready for that. We took advantage of the opportunities they gave us.” This success last year has motivated players and they know that they have the ability to make a deep run in the state tournament. These players are focused and determined to achieve their goal. On top of this, team chemistry plays a major role in making the team be successful. Buddi said “Even though we’re from different grade levels, I think we all have like a strong connection and I think that’s played a part in the successful attitude because when you have someone who knows you and how you play, it’s a lot more helpful.” Through making bonds with teammates, players are pushing each other to get better as well as having fun. The team has held some events to improve team chemistry like bowling and going out to eat. Everett said “We’ve done team dinners after matches a few times, we did that after Orono and like team lunches and just stuff like that I think has helped build a lot of camaraderie.” Being able to bond is essential for a team and the Bears have done that. With the team looking good, there are some things that they can do to be even better. Buddi said “The biggest goal for us right now is staying clean through sections, getting out from Edina because obviously they’re still a really big team with a lot of depth, and then focusing on one more win at a time.” The Bears have their eyes set on winning the state championship this year and are ready to put on a show. 

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About the Contributor
Steven Cao
Steven Cao, Copy Editor
My name is Steven Cao and I am a sophomore. I started writing articles for Spectrum during freshman year and I am an editor this year. I've previously edited the "Things To Do" Page. I am currently the Copy Editor and edit both the Sports and Variety pages. Outside of school, I enjoy playing tennis competitively and reading DC comics.  My favorite part of being in Spectrum is being able to communicate and work with others.

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