ST. CLOUD — There was a lot going on for Rochester Lourdes’ Marjan Veldic the last few days as he played in the Class A individual state tennis tournament at St. Cloud Tech.
Not only had the hard-hitting sophomore advanced to state for the first time, but there were expectations, with him being the No. 2 seed. There was also the matter of him being in a recent slump.
And finally, there was a fever he’d been fighting since Wednesday. That was made even tough with the Thursday-Friday tournament being played outdoors in 90-plus degree heat.
Put it all together, and Veldic had a tournament experience that was less than perfect for him. He wound up finishing fourth in singles, losing to Mound-Westonka’s Jack Linder 6-4, 6-1 in the semifinals, then Mounds Park Academy’s Evan Fraser 3-6, 7-5, 10-7 (pro set).
“My body wasn’t doing what I’d tell it to do, and it’s tough when you can’t breathe,” Veldic said.
While the fever was new to Veldic, what wasn’t new was him failing to hit or execute as he wished. The Eagles sophomore says this has been going on for about six months, and it continued in the state tournament.
“I’d like to get back to playing like I was a year ago, because I was pretty good then,” he said. “I want to improve mentally. Sometimes I’m scared to really load up and hit the ball.”
Lourdes coach Steve Tacl says much of this can be sorted out, with Veldic taking the lead.
“Marjan didn’t play the way he knows he can play,” Tacl said. “So there is a bad taste in his mouth right now. But sometimes, you have to experience loss and defeat to put things in perspective and focus on the things that can make you better. Marjan has some time now to assess what to do from here. Anyone who sees him play says the sky's the limit.”
• Breck’s Clayton Haberman won the singles title, downing Linder 6-1, 6-2 in the finals.
The Class AA singles champion was Mounds View’s Bjorn Swenson. He beat Edina’s Matthew Fullerton in the final, 6-2, 6-4.
• At St. Cloud Tech
Semifinals: Jack Linder (Mound-Westonka) def. Marjan Veldic (Lourdes) 6-3, 6-1; Clayton Haberman (Breck) def. Evan Fraser (Mounds Park Academy) 7-6, 6-1. Final: Haberman def. Linder 6-1, 6-2. Third place: Fraser def. Veldic 3-6, 7-5, 10-7.
Semifinals: Ishan Nadkarni/Zach Piehl (Breck) def. Alex Draeger/Tyson Michels (Litchfield) 6-4, 6-2; Liam Lynch/Luka Shaker-Check (St. Paul Academy) def. Dylan Hahn/Jack Onkka (Thief River Falls) 6-4, 6-2. Final: Nadkarni/Piehl def. Lynch/Shaker-Check 6-1, 6-0. Third place: Draeger/Michels def. Hahn/Onkka 6-4, 7-6 (7-4).
• At Prior Lake H.S.
Semifinals: Bjorn Swenson (Mounds View) def. Sujit Chepuri (Blake) 6-2, 6-3; Matthew Fullerton (Edina) def. Matias Maule (Orono) 6-2, 6-3. Final: Swenson def. Fullerton 6-2, 6-4. Third place: Maule def. Chepuri 3-6, 6-3, 10-7.
Semifinals: Otto Schreiner/Luke Westholder (Edina) def. Brandon Pham/Dylan Pham (Mahtomedi) 6-3, 6-1; Christo Alex/Emmanuel Alex (Mounds View) def. Tyler Kruger/Dane Patten (Duluth East) 6-2, 6-0. Final: Schreiner/Westholder def. Alex/Alex 7-5, 6-4. Third place: Pham/Pham def. Kruger/Patten 5-7, 6-4, 10-4.