by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Stacy Schulz has won so many Elk River Open mixed doubles championships that she’s starting to beat players she used to win with.
Schulz, 26, and Mike Master, 25, both former Elk and college players, went 3-0 Friday and topped the field of eight entrants, beating a St. Cloud State tandem, Jeremy Thompson and Katie Kotschevar, 10-5 in the finals.
Schulz has five ERO mixed titles in eight years, including one in 2009 with Thompson, also a former Elk. Her first three were with Matt Hockett.
Actually she was dethroned the last two years by her teenage sister Michaela, who won twice with St. Ben’s coach Scott Larson. Last year they beat Stacy and Master in the finals.
Michaela, a junior-to-be at ERHS, was at another tournament Friday.
Stacy Schulz, a fitness trainer in Maple Grove, said she almost didn’t play, due to hurting her back a week earlier.
“I told Mike I might not be able to,” said Schulz. “But we decided to relax and have fun with it, because we love playing in this tournament.”
Schulz and Master, who played for St. Cloud State, beat Leah and Mike Koehler 10-2 and Cassandra Brown and Dan Van Blarican 10-8 to reach the finals.
Thompson and Kotschevar, a former Monticello player,won 10-2 over Nick and Rachel Scheevel, and 10-8 over Ali May Kuebelbeck and Dusty Boyer.
The matches were pro-8 or pro-10 all day because of the heat, with temperatures in the 90’s.
Three-time state champ here
Kuebelbeck, who played No. 4 singles for the Elks as a freshman last year, made the coup of the tournament by getting Boyer, a three-time state Class AA champion, as her partner.
How’d she do that?
“I just asked him to,” Kuebelbeck smiled.
She’s been close friends with Boyer, a senior-to-be at Forest Lake, for two years.
Boyer, state champion in 2009 -10-11 with a 98-1 record in that span, was able to squeeze in the Elk River tourney before heading off to play in USTA team sectionals on Saturday, after which he’s got Davis Cup action in Michigan.
They won once before falling to the SCSU players in a close match, and bounced back to place third with an 8-4 win over Brown and Van Blarican. Brown is a former Elk who currently plays for SCSU.
Elk River Open continues
The 40th annual Elk River Open will continue all weekend. Singles tournaments will be held Saturday, with over 60 entrants, said director Randy Ronning. On Sunday, men’s and women’s doubles will be held.