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Central, Roncalli earn singles places at Rapid City tourney

Aberdeen Central’s Mitchell Hofer returns a volley during a doubles match against Brandon Valley earlier this season at the Holgate Tennis Courts. Hofer took third place in a tournament at Rapid City on Thursday. Photo by John Davis taken 4/11/2022

RAPID CITY – Mitchell Hofer’s third place finish at third flight singles highlighted Aberdeen Central’s opening day of tennis at the Rapid City Invitational, which began Thursday, while Aberdeen Roncalli put all six singles players in the consolation finals. 

Central coach Trent Kurtz said he was pleased with his team’s performances, pointing out that several of his players found themselves in rematches against prior opponents. 

Central’s Gabe Goetz (number one), Hofer (number three) and AJ Prehn (number four) all won their opening round matches to advance to the semifinals. 

“We expected Gabe to win and he did,” Kurtz said. “Mitchell Hofer got a really good win at number three singles. He played that kid earlier in the season and got beat up pretty good by him. … And AJ Prehn had a huge win over the Brandon Valley kid. Again, he beat AJ pretty easily earlier in the year, so we avenged a couple losses. Obviously, our guys played better today than the last time we played them. Even in our losses, we had chances to get back in it.”

While the semifinal round didn’t net any victories, Kurtz was happy with the effort he saw.

“The semifinal matches were all pretty tough ones, but we were right in them,” Kurtz said. “We played well in all three of those, just came out on the wrong end of some close ones.”

Aberdeen Roncalli received a fifth place showing from Landon Zikmund, who won a 10-7 showing over Central’s Sekou Gogue.

Aberdeen Roncalli’s Landon Zikmund looks to return a volley during a singles match earlier this season against Sioux Falls O’Gorman at the Northern State University tennis courts. Photo by John Davis taken 4/11/2022

“I thought the day went really well,” said Roncalli coach JD Carrels. “We had flights one through six all make consolation finals, so I was really happy about that. Unfortunately, we came up on the losing end of five of those.”

Carrels also noted that all six matches featured tight points and a lot of back-and-forth play, including the flight one match between Roncalli’s Daniel Gamboa and Brandon Valley’s Cole Murray.

The two players battle to a 7-6 score in the win-by-two tiebreaker when the lights at the facility went out with one point to play.

“They were trading games the entire time,” Carrels said. “When we played (Brandon Valley) earlier in the year, they beat up on us pretty good.”

That was a sentiment Carrels echoed in a number of his players’ matches, adding that the Cavaliers showed improvement in each of those rematches.

Thursday’s action featured singles play only, while doubles play begins Friday morning.

“This is the first time they’ve been in tournament style play,” Carrels said. “It’s definitely a different kind of style where you play, then sit, then play again. But it’s the same format that they’ll see at the state tournament, so it’s good.”


First Flight

GABE GOETZ, Aberdeen Central: defeated Cole Murray, Brandon Valley, 10-1; lost to Noah Greni, Rapid City Christian, 10-8; lost to Macon Larson, Mitchell, 10-2. FOURTH PLACE.

DANIEL GAMBOA, Aberdeen Roncalli: lost to Asa Hood, Rapid City Stevens, 10-2; def. Dhruv Goyal, St. Thomas More, 10-2; lost to Cole Murray, Brandon Valley, 10-9 (8-6). SIXTH PLACE.

Second Flight

IAN AHLBERG, Aberdeen Central: lost to Joe Schneller, Rapid City Christian, 10-7; def. Rudy Isburg, Spearfish, 10-3; def. Cason Hellwig, Aberdeen Roncalli, 10-7. FIFTH PLACE.

CASON HELLWIG, Aberdeen Roncalli: lost to Tayven Badger, Brandon Valley, 10-3; def. Michael Levin, St. Thomas More, 10-1; lost to Ian Ahlberg, Aberdeen Central, 10-7. SIXTH PLACE.

Third Flight

MITCHELL HOFER, Aberdeen Central: def. Andrew Dobbs, Rapid City Christian, 10-9 (7-2); lost to Aidan Patrick, Mitchell, 10-7; def. Tristin Eizinger, Rapid City Stevens, 10-6. THIRD PLACE.

MASON CARRELS, Aberdeen Roncalli: lost to Tristan Eizinger, Rapid City Stevens, 10-1; def. Bridger Meyer, Spearfish, 10-5; lost to Andrew Dobbs, Rapid City Christian, 10-2. SIXTH PLACE.

Fourth Flight

AJ PREHN, Aberdeen Central: def. Gibsen Eszlinger, Brandon Valley, 10-6; lost to Jack Vermeulen, Mitchell, 10-8; lost to Dayler Segrist, Rapid City Stevens, 10-9 (7-2). FOURTH PLACE.

PALMER JOHNSON, Aberdeen Roncalli: lost to Dayler Segrist, Rapid City Stevens, 10-2; def. Lucas Rodgers, Spearfish, 10-1; lost to Gibsen Eszlinger, Brandon Valley, 10-7. SIXTH PLACE.

Fifth Flight

SEKOU GOGUE, Aberdeen Central: lost to Noah Geyer, Rapid City Christian, 10-2; def. Leo Isburg, Spearfish, 10-4; lost to Landon Zikmund, Aberdeen Roncalli, 10-7. SIXTH PLACE.

LANDON ZIKMUND, Aberdeen Roncalli: lost to Henry Wright, Brandon Valley, 10-4; def. Brady Strain, St. Thomas More, 10-4; def. Sekou Gogue, Aberdeen Central, 10-7. FIFTH PLACE.

Sixth Flight

JACK RIGGS, Aberdeen Central: lost to Sam Woidyla, Brandon Valley, 10-7; def. Carter Stamper, St. Thomas More, by default; def. Gannon May, Aberdeen Roncalli, 10-4. FIFTH PLACE.

GANNON MAY, Aberdeen Roncalli: lost to Tommy Nehring, Rapid City Stevens, 10-4; def. Shaun Cota, Spearfish, 10-6; lost to Jack Riggs, Aberdeen Central, 10-4. SIXTH PLACE.

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