Elk River took home third-place medals in both singles and doubles play at the state tennis tournament Friday, the program’s best-ever showing in the individuals portion of the tournament.
Elk junior Josh Gearou lost to the eventual champion, sophomore Nicholas Beaty of Wayzata, in the semifinals 6-2, 6-3, but bounced back to defeat Hopkins senior Manfred Barrios 6-2, 6-0 in the third-place match.
Elk junior Sam Gearou and senior Nathan Chanthamontry lost to the eventual champions, Maple Grove sophomore Charlie Adkins and junior Rory Calabria, in the semifinals 6-4, 7-5. They snagged third place beating St. Cloud Tech senior Riley Bates and sophomore Riley Peterson 6-2, 6-2.
Josh Gearou had the highest singles finish in the 55-year history of the program, and Sam Gearou and Chanthamontry tied for the highest doubles finish, with Mike O’Brien/Andy Horton doing the same in 1997.
“It was our best single year of Individuals success,” said Randy Ronning, Elk coach and program historian. “Just getting both a singles and doubles entry to state is not easy and does not happen often for any school.”
Ronning noted that even Wayzata had only one entry both this year and last year while winning the team title both times.
“But to have both entries win both of their first two rounds and advance to the semifinals, is a first for our school. Both played well in the semis but lost. Both of the players that we lost to in the semi’s went on to win the finals, too, making us look even better.”
Each Elk entry went 3-1 at the state tournament individuals. Earlier in the week, the Elks placed fourth in the team tournament, beating St. Cloud Tech 5-2 and losing to Wayzata 6-1 and East Ridge 4-3.
Josh Gearou was 34-6 this year and has 157 varsity wins. His losses came against Beaty (twice), state runner-up Toby Boyer of Forest Lake (twice), last year’s state champion Joel Richards of Minnetonka, and Edina’s Max Olson.