To claim the MSHSL State Class AA tennis doubles championship, Bulldog tennis coach Hokan Bengtson knew his duo of Eli Scheideman and Ryan Bengtson would obviously have to play at a very high level and defeat the best players in the state. Unfortunately for the Becker sophomores, they wound up playing what turned out to be the best tandem in the opening round and came away with great memories despite a straight set 1-6, 1-6 loss to the eventual state champions.
“Ryan and Eli needed to play nearly perfect tennis to beat the pair from Edina,” Bengtson said. “They [Edina] are both Division I type players - their execution at the net and in the mid court was fun to watch.”
Even though they came up short in their first appearance in the large class tournament, Bengtson was proud of the way the two athletes approached the match. And in the process, they gained some valuable state tournament experience, which could come in handy in the future as the pair will have two more years to try and repeat their excellent season.
“I was really proud of our two guys in the match as they didn’t play nervous or timid at all - they played free and confident,” Bengtson said. “This match was a great look at what state championship doubles looks like.”
Edina’s winning team of senior Luke Westholder and junior Otto Schreiner went on to easily pick up the state title.
Bengtson and the team held its awards ceremony last week and announced numerous accolades for members of the team that posted the second best record in school history en route to an undefeated M8 Conference season.
All Conference Honorable Mention award winners were Bruce Kraemer and Nick Gruber, while an incredible seven Bulldogs were named to the Mississippi 8 first team: Zach Bengtson, Ryan Bengtson, Eli Scheideman, Luke Bordson, Wyatt Hiltner, Landon Peterson and Sawyer Brown.
Ryan Bengtson and Scheideman were named the M8 doubles team of the year, while Luke Bordson was named the team’s scholar athlete.
Most Dedicated Player honors were bestowed upon Troy Nuest who enjoyed perhaps the best performance of a seventh grader in Minnesota over the course of the season.
Gruber picked up the award for being the most improved player, while Zach Bengtson earned the most outstanding player award.
The Larry Hladky Award, which recognizes the player with the most grit and determination, was given to Wyatt Hiltner.
As a team, the Bulldogs earned the Class 8AA Academic Silver Award for maintaining a GPA of 3.5 to 3.8.
A trio of strong tennis players were named as captains for 2021-2022 in Luke Bordson, Ryan Bengtson and Eli Scheideman.