Tennis: Elks’ Schulz, O’Connell, Kraljic qualify for state

Elk River will have a singles and doubles entrant in the state tennis meet as  seniors Katie O’Connell and Camille Kraljc won Section 7AA doubles while junior Michaela Schulz was singles runner-up Tuesday.

O’Connell and Kraljic beat Forest Lake’s Taylor Shortly and Jackie Unger 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 in the championship match at Arrowhead Courts in Duluth.

Michaela Schulz

To reach the finals, they deposed Duluth East’s Sarah Zimmerman and Grace Heyer 6-1, 6-3, and their Elks teammates Taylor Lussier-Flesher and Ali May Kuebelbeck 6-3, 6-2.

Katie O'Connell

Schulz lost the title match to Andover’s Faith Lee 6-3, 6-0. She reached the finals beating Hibbing’s Emily Milani 6-3, 6-0, and Lee’s sister Destiny Lee 6-1, 6-2. Schulz had to  play a true-second, and defeated

Camille Kraljic

Princeton’s Mary Claire Mayerchak 6-2, 6-1.

Schulz, a five-year starter in singles, the last two years at No. 1, went to state in doubles the last two years with Leah Koehler. They were 4-2 overall in state doubles, winning the consolation title in 2009.

“Going singles was my intention from the get-go this year. I’m very excited to be going in singles,” said Schulz. “I’ve been working on being more consistent, and hitting the ball deeper, which has helped me against good players.”

For Kraljic and O’Connell, this will be the first state trip in individuals competition. Kraljic normally plays No. 2 singles, and O’Connell No. 1 doubles.

Kuebelbeck and Lussier-Flesher, who beat Hibbing’s Mikaela Krampotich and Tina Matelich 7-6, 4-6, 7-6 in the first round, wound up finishing third. They were seeded sixth.

The Elks (21-4) earned a state trip in team competition Monday by beating Duluth East 4-3 and Forest Lake 4-3. They will meet Mahtomedi on Tuesday at 10 a.m. in the first round of Class AA state. Singles and doubles will start Thursday morning.