Laker boys' tennis to draw off 2005 experience

The experienced gained by a very young Detroit Lakes boys' tennis team last year was invaluable, but it's an experience the Lakers really don't want to repeat.

The experienced gained by a very young Detroit Lakes boys' tennis team last year was invaluable, but it's an experience the Lakers really don't want to repeat.

Although DL finished with a respectable record near .500, the Lakers didn't defeat a section opponent, and felt some bumps along the way through the 2005 season.

But what doesn't kill you only helps you.

Sending the majority of their players out as first-time varsity players last year helped the Lakers, and hopefully those dividends will pay off this season and in seasons to come.

Make no doubt about it, the Lakers are still young -- just not as green as they were last year. DL will have two seniors, one junior and seven sophomores in the lineup this season.


The majority of the returners saw action in 2005 -- a season where improvement was seen twofold.

"All 10 of our returners are improved, and I'm excited about that improvement," said DL head coach Jim Hinson. "Last year, we had so many kids who have never played varsity tennis, and that's quite a big jump up from junior high play.

"But by the end of last year, they were all playing well, and we actually had a surprisingly good year. Now this year, they all have physically grown more mature and we are hoping we can surprise this year like we did last season."

The Lakers will be anchored by four players, each of whom possess enough versatility to play either doubles or singles.

Senior Shawn Gode brings a good load of seasoning on the varsity level, and will hold down the No. 1 singles slot. Sophomore Ryan Borgeson showed enough talent in 2005, as DL's third singles player, to move up to No. 2 and provide the Lakers with a good one-two punch in the top two spots.

Gode played every section opponent last year, having reasonably good success; this season, consistency is his goal.

"Shawn is a great team leader, and he is one of the hardest workers I've ever coached," Hinson said. "Ryan is physically bigger, and he won a number of matches as our three or four singles player last year. So he's proven he's good already, and he'll be a factor."

The Lakers' top doubles team will also be a strength, with senior Sam Neitzke and Izzy Stein teaming up to make a formidable duo. The two made up DL's No. 1 doubles team last season, but each can also be bumped up to singles play to give the Lakers a talented four-deep lineup.


"The potential is there where we could have a fairly strong singles lineup," Hinson said of the ability to play Neitzke and Stein up with Borgeson and Gode.

There are a number of sophomores who could fill the three and four slots in singles, including Garrett Frank, Ben VanOfflen, Alex Nustad and Eric Roethel.

"Alex and Ben played tough doubles last year," Hinson added. "But we will mix and match all these players in doubles and singles. Versatility will be the key this year."

The Lakers' bar has been raised a bit, as well. After finishing third in the Mid-State Conference meet in 2005, the goal now is to finish on top of the pile this season.

"That's a realistic and legitimate goal to shoot for," Hinson said of the Mid-State championship goal. "We also want to win some section matches."

The Lakers had a head start this spring, with the chance to play in the Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center during the first week of practice, and a scrimmage in Coon Rapids last weekend.

DL also will be building from the bottom up, with the addition of Jason Vold as the Middle School coach. Vold was a top player in Brainerd during his high school career, and has experience in coaching tennis as well.

"Jason brings the most experience in tennis that we've had here in a long time," Hinson said. "We are excited to have him here."


The Lakers open the season at New York Mills on Monday, April 10, then will travel to face Mid-State foe Wadena-Deer Creek Tuesday.

Laker schedule

2006 Detroit Lakes boys' tennis schedule.


10 at New York Mills

11 at Wadena-Deer Creek

13 Staples-Motley

18 Crookston and W-DC


21 Thief River Falls and Alexandria

25 Bemidji

27 Park Rapids

29 at Moorhead


2 at Moorhead

5 TRF and Fergus Falls

9 at East Grand Forks


11 at Park Rapids

13 Mid-State meet at Park Rapids

18 Perham

22 Sub-Section at Alexandria

24 Sub-Section at Alexandria

30-31 Section at Alexandria


6-9 State tennis meet.

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