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Breck wins first 1A state title since 2014

By JOEL RIPPEL, Star Tribune, 10/27/21, 5:15PM CDT

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The Mustangs relied on five returning players from last season.

With her team playing in the girls’ tennis state tournament for the first time in seven years, Breck coach Katie Wessman reminded the Mustangs there was only one thing in their control.

“Their effort,” said Wessman, in her third season at Breck. “Let your feet do the talking. Keep moving.”

On Wednesday at the Reed-Sweatt Tennis Center, the Mustangs heeded Wessman’s advice and won the program’s first Class 1A title since 2014.

The Mustangs defeated Fairmont 7-0 in the semifinals on Wednesday morning and then defeated Litchfield 7-0 in the championship match in the afternoon.
Breck, ranked No. 1 in the Class 1A poll, had defeated No. 2-ranked Rochester Lourdes 5-2 in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.

“Each match is a new day,” Wessman said. “When you step out on the court, you have to forget the previous match and just play.”

The Mustangs, who went 8-5 in the regular season playing a schedule laden with Class 2A teams, swept the four singles matches against Litchfield in straight sets and also won two of the three doubles matches without dropping a set.

Seniors Ellie Pirtle, Aditi Nadkarni and Margot Gagerman won their singles matches for the Mustangs.

“We graduated 10 players from last year,” Wessman said. “We had five returners who really stepped up this season and were the backbone for the team and mentors for the younger girls on the team.”

Wessman said Pirtle has “always been a competitor and is our captain. For her career at Breck to end this way is great.”

Witt Mehbod and Petra Lyon teamed up for a 6-2, 6-1 victory at No. 1 doubles for the Mustangs against Litchfield. Mehbod, a sophomore, and Lyon, a junior, will compete in individual doubles state tournament, which begins Thursday morning.

Mehbod will pair with Nadkarni, Lyons with Pirtle.

“Witt has really stepped up for us,” Messman said. “She was on the junior varsity last year.”

Litchfield, with only two seniors among the 10 players who competed in the championship match, had defeated Providence Academy 6-1 in the semifinals. Litchfield’s singles lineup consisted of two juniors, a freshman and a seventh-grader. Junior Ryanna Steinhaus will compete in the individual singles Thursday.

In the third-place match, Providence Academy rallied for a 4-3 victory over Fairmont, which was making its first state tournament appearance since 1994.

Fairmont won three of the four singles matches, but the Lions swept the doubles matches — winning two of them in tiebreakers.

Rochester Lourdes, making its 27th consecutive appearance in the state tournament, defeated Pine City 5-2 in the consolation championship match.

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