Tennis: Elks face perennial champ Edina in first round at state

A year ago, the Elk River tennis team got a very favorable draw in the state tournament and wound up  placing third as they only had to face one of the powerhouses and beat two unranked teams.

No such luck this year, as the Elks drew dynastic Edina in the first round on Tuesday. It was Edina that beat the Elks in the semifinals last year on the way to their 15th straight state title. They call it “Edinasty.”

In the first round pairings announced Wednesday, the Elks (19-4) face top-seeded Edina at 8 a.m., followed by No. 4 Rochester Century vs. No. 5 Mounds View, No. 2 Minnetonka vs. Stillwater, and No. 3 Prior Lake vs. St. Cloud Tech.

The state teams were seeded this year for the first time, in a vote of coaches, who determined a  top five, with the three unseeded teams drawn from a hat for pairings against the top three.

Edina won its section final 4-3 over Wayzata, a team that beat the Elks 6-1.

Schulz  faces familiar rival

Meanwhile, Elk senior Michaela Schulz, the Section 7AA singles champion, will open singles competition Thursday against Mary Liz Swanson, a conference rival from Blaine. Schulz edged Swanson 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 in their conference duel.

Singles competition was also seeded for the first time this year, although only the top four, in order to place them in separate brackets. From one through four are Mounds View’s Summer Brills, Chanhassen’s Hayley Haakenstad, Rochester Mayo’s Kyle Boyer, and Wayzata’s Kelly Yang.