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Cavaliers earn places at Rapid City Invitational

Aberdeen Roncalli’s Gray Imbery returns a volley during a doubles match against Milbank Tuesday at the Northern State University tennis courts. Imbery finished fourth at first flight singles during the Rapid City Invitational on Saturday. Photo by John Davis taken 4/27/2021

RAPID CITY – Aberdeen Roncalli concluded the Rapid City Invitational tennis tournament with more long, tight matches on Saturday.

The most notable one took place at first flight singles where Gray Imbery had a rematch against Macon Larson of Mitchell in the semifinals. Imbery won a long battle 6-4, 7-5 on Friday and this time Larson pulled out a wild 14-12 win in a super.

“Their match from Friday morning, it was basically an exact replica of that match. It was back and forth and just a battle,” said Roncalli coach JD Carrels, noting that Imbery rallied from an 8-4 deficit in the super to lead 9-8. “I think both guys saved three match points. Both of them missed a couple of big serves. Let’s just say I was out of breath when the matched finished.”

Imbery ended up taking fourth place.

Mason Carrels took fifth place, bouncing back from an opening round setback and defeating Sekou Gogue of Aberdeen Central in a hard fought 10-8 pro set for fifth.

“Mason had a good match against Aberdeen Central to take fifth,” Coach Carrels said. “(Gogue) was working Mason back and forth. I told him he just had to hang in there and keep working. He got the deuce points that mattered and came out with a win.”

Palmer Johnson was involved in more of his usual long battles. He dropped his first match in a second-set tiebreaker, then defeated Henry Beckloff of Rapid City Christian 10-8 for fifth place. The win avenged a loss to Beckloff on Thursday.

“They had a long match. They have a very, very similar playing style. Palmer is used to frustrating kids playing like a backboard and getting everything back. And this kid is used to that same thing,” Coach Carrels said. “When you put two backboards up against each other it makes for some long points.”

Coach Carrels was pleased with his squad’s performance on the weekend during some pretty warm conditions.

“Overall, I was really happy with how our team played. Some of our guys were able to play some of the same guys we played already this season. In almost every match there was a lot of improvement,” he said. “That was great for me to see. It really solidified that our guys are improving, especially for them to come out and do it in these conditions that we were playing. It was very gratifying as a coach.”

The Cavaliers play at Watertown on Tuesday.

Flight One
Gray Imbery: def. Nolan Rehorst, Rapid City Stevens, 7-6 (7-3), 6-0; lost to Macon Larson, Mitchell, 3-6, 6-3, (14-12); lost to Dawson Johnson, Brandon Valley, 10-5. FOURTH PLACE.

Flight Two

Cason Hellwig: lost to Joe Schneller, Rapid City Christian, 6-1, 6-0; def. Michael Levine, St. Thomas More, 10-2; lost to Zach Gonsor, Aberdeen Central, 10-1. SIXTH PLACE.

Flight Three

Jackson Henrich: lost to Andrew Dobbs, Rapid City Christian, 6-2, 6-0; def. Leo Schmid, St. Thomas More, 10-5; lost to Aidan Patrick, Mitchell, 10-2. SIXTH PLACE.

Flight Four

Mason Carrels: lost to Ayden Murray, Brandon Valley, 6-3, 6-3; def. Matt Cuny, Rapid City Central, 10-6; def. Sekou Gogue, Aberdeen Central, 10-8. FIFTH PLACE.

Flight Five

AJ Prehn: lost to Jack Vermeulen, Mitchell, 6-2, 6-1; lost to Brock Bacon, 10-7; def. Cole Jandreau, Rapid City Central, 10-6. SEVENTH PLACE.

Flight Six

Palmer Johnson: lost to Cole Murray, Brandon Valley, 6-2, 7-6 (7-2); def. Thane Neiman, Rapid City Central, 10-2; def. Henry Beckloff, Rapid City Christian, 10-8. FIFTH PLACE.

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