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Roncalli falls to Sioux Falls Christian, Harrisburg in season opener

Daniel Gamboa, an exchange student at Aberdeen Roncalli, won his first match for the Cavaliers against a foe from Sioux Falls Christian at Harrisburg on Tuesday. Photo by John Davis taken 4/4/2022

HARRISBURG – Aberdeen Roncalli faced a stiff test to start its tennis season on Tuesday.

The Cavaliers not only had to contend with rough weather conditions, they faced defending State A champion Sioux Falls Christian in their first match.

Roncalli dropped a 5-3 decision to the Chargers before falling to Harrisburg 6-1. The matches did not feature a full nine points because of an illness.

The conditions which featured strong winds, spitting rain and cold, were not ideal to play in.

“For the first match, this is worst weather we’ve had. We haven’t even in practiced in weather this bad,” said Roncalli coach JD Carrels. “It was a rude awakening for a lot of our guys for it to be that cold and that windy.”

The Cavaliers received wins from Daniel Gamboa at flight one, and Landon Zikmund and Gannon May at numbers five and six respectively in their first varsity singles action.

“For that to be the first match out and the three guys, it was their first singles match at the varsity level and all three of them got wins,” Carrels said, “I think’s that a pretty cool way to kind of remember that first match in your career.”

Gamboa, an exchange student from Mexico, got his first real taste of South Dakota spring tennis against a quality opponent from SFC.

“I knew he was going to have a tough match at one, but he’s also used to playing in sunshine and no wind,” Carrels said. “For having his first high school match in spitting rain, and cold and windy and then also against a tough opponent … it was going to be battle for him, but I thought he played really well.”

Zikmund and May, multi-sport athletes, showed their strength and athleticism is gaining their first varsity victories.

“They both started out a little slower,” Carrels said, “but started figuring out the wind a little bit, started playing their game a little bit more and pulled off great wins for us.”

Carrels said he noticed marked improvement from last year to their first matches this spring.

“I definitely would say their athleticism and the work that was put in in the off season, definitely you could see just their growth from last year competing to where they’re at now,” Carrels said.

One thing that didn’t change from a year ago was the consistent play of Palmer Johnson, who picked up Roncalli’s lone win over Harrisburg.

Carrels said Johnson once again used his unique style to pull out another victory.

“Like it was last year, about every single one of his games was right down there to deuce or it was at one serve or one swing that could have made the difference,” Carrels said. “It was a battle. He got down right away and it just his will and his constant consistency, always getting the ball back, and it was too much for his opponent. He just got frustrated. It was classic Palmer.”

The Cavaliers will host O’Gorman and Brandon Valley on Monday at the Northern State Courts to start a busy week of tennis. If the weather holds, Roncalli will then have a triangular in Brookings on Tuesday and another triangular at Sioux Falls Lincoln on Thursday.

Sioux Falls Christian 5, Aberdeen Roncalli 3


Daniel Gamboa, AR, def. Landon Leverhagen, 10-1.

No match

Jadon Muson, SFC, def. Mason Carrels, 10-0.

Grant Santema, SFC, def. Palmer Johnson, 10-3

Landon Zikmund, AR, def. James Woodward, 10-8.

Gannon May, AR, def. Jack Squire, 10-5.


Levenhagen-Daniel Puumala, SFC, def. Gamboa-Carrels, 10-0.

Munson-Santema, SFC, def. Johnson-Sawyer Henrich, 10-5.

Woodward-Aidan Ligtenburg, SFC, def. Zikmund-May, 10-4.

Harrisburg 6, Aberdeen Roncalli 1


Alex Rallis, H, def. Daniel Gamboa, 10-7.

No match

Marcus Halling, H, def. Mason Carrels, 10-4.

Palmer Johnson, AR, def. Brayden Rausch, 10-4.

Justin Ptak, H, def. Landon Zikmund, 10-3.

Colton Anderson, H, def. Gannon May, 10-2.


Rallis-Halling, H, def. Gamboa-Carrels, 10-4.

No match

Ptak-Anderson, H, def. Zikmund-May, 10-6.

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