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Roncalli wins multiple matches on opening day of state tourney

Aberdeen Roncalli’s Daniel Gamboa returns a volley during a singles match earlier this season against Sioux Falls O’Gorman at the Northern State University tennis courts. Gamboa won a singles match and a doubles match Monday at the State A Tournament in Rapid City. Photo by John Davis taken 4/11/2022

RAPID CITY – The Aberdeen Roncalli tennis squad got off to a solid start at the State A tennis tournament on Monday morning.

Five of the team’s six players won opening-round singles matches to help set the tone for the day.

“We started out the day pretty good. We had five of the six kids win,” said Roncalli coach JD Carrels. “Then we knew once it came to that second round it would be a different level of competition that would be involved.”

The Cavaliers dropped all their second-round matches, although not without a battle.

Carrels pointed out the play of Cason Hellwig at flight two singles.

“The match was much, much closer than the actual score,” Carrels said. “He actually did play really well. I was super impressed with his play.”

Palmer Johnson at flight four singles and Landon Zikmund at flight five singles both bounced back for consolation victories.

Both faced players they had played during the regular season.

Carrels noted that Johnson defeated a Huron foe under much different conditions than their previous match, which was played in 30 degrees with strong wind in Huron.

“He did put a lot of thought into how his first match was,” Carrels said. “He knew he had to come in completely focused.”

Zikmund defeated an opponent from Milbank Area that he had also faced before.

“He knew that he had to come out strong and get on top of him right away,” Carrels said, “and that’s exactly what he did and he kept the ball rolling.”

As a result, both Johnson and Zikmund will be playing in fifth-place matches today.

“I’m excited for both of those guys to have a chance to play for fifth and a chance to get on the podium,” Carrels said.

The Cavaliers won two of their first three doubles matches. The lone loss came after a long battle at flight three where Pierre edged the Roncalli duo of Zikmund and Gannon May 7-5, 7-6, 7-3 in the tiebreaker. The two teams had split matches during the regular season.

Aberdeen Roncalli’s Gannon May, center, returns a volley at the net during a doubles match against Watertown earlier this season at the Northern State University tennis courts. May won a singles match and a doubles match during the State A tourney Monday in Rapid City. Photo by John Davis taken 5/3/2022

“We knew going into this one that it was going to be a long, tough battle. It was kind of a tough one to draw first round,” Carrels said. “They played relay well. There were so many good points, and there were just a few of those deuce points we didn’t come out on the right end.”

That team bounced back for a win so all three of Roncalli’s doubles teams will be action again today.

“I’m super excited for the guys,” Carrels said. “I thought overall, they had a good first day. I’m super pleased.”


First Flight

DANIEL GAMBOA: def. Mason Kennington, Madison, 7-5, 6-1; lost to Noah Greni, Rapid City Christian, 6-2, 6-3; lost to Landon Levenhagen, Sioux Falls Christian, 10-5.

Second Flight

CASON HELLWIG: def. Michael Levine, St. Thomas More, 7-5, 6-2; lost to Daniel Puumala, Sioux Falls Christian, 6-3, 6-0; lost to Joe Schneller, Rapid City Christian, 10-6.

Third Flight

MASON CARRELS: lost to Cody Plank, Lennox, 6-1, 6-0; bye; lost to Cade Minneart, Madison, 10-6.

Fourth Flight

PALMER JOHNSON: def. Chase Steuerwald, Madison, 6-2,6-2; lost to Harrison Krajewski, Yankton, 6-0, 6-1; def. Lauy Kue Say, Huron, 10-4.

Fifth Flight

LANDON ZIKMUND: def. Leo Isburg, Spearfish, 6-4, 6-1; lost to Spencer Kelly, Pierre, 6-4, 6-1; def. Will Snaza, Milbank Area, 10-0.

Sixth Flight

GANNON MAY: def. Taiden Pierce, Madison, 6-1, 6-2; lost to Luke Jerke, Mitchell, 6-1, 6-1; lost to Moo Gay, Huron, 10-7.


First Flight

DANIEL GAMBOA-MASON CARRELS: def. Mason Kennington-Spencer Reverts, Madison, 6-1, 6-1; lost to Becker-Briggs, Yankton, 6-4, 6-2.

Second Flight

CASON HELLWIG-PALMER JOHNSON: def. Grabow-Whitesitt, Milbank Area, 6-1, 6-1; lost to Dobbs-Hancock, Rapid City Christian, 6-0, 6-0.

Third FlightLANDON ZIKMUND-GANNON MAY: lost to Dodson-Heier, Pierre 7-5, 7-6 (7-3); bye; def. Studer-Pierce, Madison, 10-2.

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