Rivals have a special bond

Simon Brandt of Century, left, and Andrew Johnson of Mayo are friends who play tennis together frequently and may end up going to college together, where they would finally be teammates. Both are seniors this spring.

A year from now, there's a decent chance that high school tennis players Simon Brandt and Andrew Johnson will get their wish.

It's that these close Rochester friends will stop competing against each other. Instead, they'd finally be teammates.

Johnson, a Rochester Mayo senior, has already made his college choice. He's going to St. Mary's University in Winona, where he'll play tennis.

As for Brandt, a Century senior, he's still undecided. He's weighing taking his tennis talents to the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, or to St. Mary's.

All things being anywhere close to equal, his choice will likely become easy. That's because he'd cherish the opportunity to team up with Johnson.


He'd also appreciate the chance to be on Johnson's team for another reason. When it comes to high school team tennis, and the approximately three times per year that Century and Mayo have met during their high school careers, Brandt's Century team has never come away a winner.

Like to be on winning side

Brandt has had enough of that. But he sure wouldn't mind grabbing some of that winning vibe from Johnson if he were to join him at St. Mary's.

The two have certainly spent their share of time together on the tennis court. They first met when they were about 9 years old, each taking lessons at the Rochester Tennis Connection.

There has been a connection ever since. And there has been countless hours spent together on those RTC courts, including this past offseason working on their games there on any almost daily basis.

"That would be one of the big reasons that I would go to St. Mary's, because Andrew is there," said Brandt, who is penciled in at No. 1 singles for Century this season, after playing 2 and 3 singles last year. "Andrew is really fun to be around. He's really competitive and he likes to win. If we both go to St. Mary's, maybe we could play doubles together."

Johnson has the same sentiment as Brandt, regarding their relationship as something special and something he'd love to build on as teammates.

Tennis bond


It also didn't take Johnson long to realize that he and Brandt were going to have a special camaraderie.

"I think it was in the sixth grade when we first met," said Johnson, who'll play anywhere from No. 1 to No. 3 singles for Mayo this season. "Simon was a nice kid right way. He was easy to talk to, and was one of the first kids that I would hit with outside of class. I wanted to hit with him, because he was always one of the better ones."

So, now it must be asked. When Brandt and Johnson meet on the tennis court, who wins?

The truth is, neither one of them would commit to an answer, only saying that it's extremely close.

But they would say this: When they teamed up to play doubles tournaments this past summer, they won a lot.

Was this a foreshadowing of their future?

The St. Mary's University tennis coaching staff hopes so.

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