Elk River tennis players Steven Delain, center, and Mitch Brandell, right, whooped it up after clinching a 5-2 Class 3A title victory over Wayzata on June 6 at Baseline Tennis Center at the University of Minnesota. Photo by Marlin Levison * mlevison@start
This couldn't happen to Ryan Ness. Not with so much on the line.
The Elk River senior, considered by many to be his school's top male athlete this year -- two-time All-State soccer selection, captain of the soccer, basketball and tennis teams -- was struggling in the Class 2A tennis team championship finals.
Ness, who had not lost at No. 3 singles all season, had dropped the second set to Wayzata's Jason Lee and was trailing 2-0 in the third set.
"He picked up his play, and then I started to cramp up in the third set," Ness said. "I was getting frustrated."
Battling through his difficulty, Ness was admittedly relieved when he heard teammates explode when Josh Gearou and Josh Chuba won their matches, securing the championship for the undefeated Elks.
"That took a lot of the pressure off," said Ness, who rallied to defeat Lee 6-4 in the final set. "It was a great feeling to hear that. The cramps just went away."
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