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Hermantown multi-sport student-athletes are joining the boys tennis team in record numbers, Coach Jessica Worden said Tuesday.

“We’ve sent a player to the state singles tournament two years in a row, which has ignited a fire among our school’s athletes who also play other sports,” said Worden, in an exclusive Hermantown Community Schools interview previewing her 2024 team. “Sam Swenson advancing to state last season likely had a major impact for us to add at least 15 new players this spring.”

A near all-time record 35 players in grades 7-12 are currently participating in daily captains’ practices. The Hawks will begin official team workouts Monday, April 2 and will open the 2024 season April 9 at Cloquet.

“It gets pretty cramped if we get over the 35 players working out on our four outdoor courts,” Worden said.

Hermantown will be led by senior captains Brody Matthews and Ben Kangas, and underclassmen Bradford Skytta and Gabe Swenson. Nayan Watson, Keaton Rother and Thor Rickard are also seniors to watch.

“We have a good shot at finishing near the top of the Lake Superior Conference, where we expect to challenge Cloquet and Superior after finishing third in the conference last season,” said Worden, who also serves as the head coach of the Hawks girls’ tennis team in the fall. “We will have strong doubles and singles teams, featuring experienced players who are talented and highly competitive.”

Participation is also approaching an all-time program high for underclassmen.

“The common theme is we get players to join in their junior and senior years, and they nearly always say they wish they would have started playing tennis earlier,” said Worden. “They get a lot of action in drills, hit a lot of balls and see rapid improvement in their games. One of the beauties of tennis is that you need only one other player to hit the ball back and forth.”

2024 Hawks Boys Tennis Schedule

Tuesday, April 9 – at Cloquet, 4:15 p.m.

Wednesday, April 10 – at Duluth East, 4:15 p.m.

Thursday, April 11 – at Cloquet, 4:15 p.m.

Monday, April 15 – host Superior, 4:15 p.m.

Monday, April 22 – host Duluth East, 4:15 p.m.

Tuesday, April 23 – at Stella Maris Academy, 4:15 p.m. Longview Tennis Courts

Thursday, April 25 – at Hibbing, 4:15 p.m.

Monday, April 29 – at Duluth Denfeld, 4:15 p.m.

Tuesday, April 30 – at Grand Rapids (Tri-Meet), 2 p.m.

Thursday, May 2 – at Aitkin, 4:15 p.m.

Monday, May 6 – at Superior, 4:15 p.m.

Tuesday, May 7 – at Rock Ridge, 4 p.m.

Wednesday, May 8 – host Stella Maris Academy, 4:15 p.m.

Thursday, May 9 – host Duluth Marshall, 4:15 p.m.

Friday, May 10 – host Duluth Denfeld, 4:15 p.m.