State boys tennis: St. Paul Academy wins third straight Class A championship

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The three-peat is completed.

St. Paul Academy took home its third straight Class A boys tennis state championship with a dominant 6-1 victory over Breck at Reed-Sweatt Tennis Center on Wednesday.

The Spartans became the first team to three-peat since Blake did from 2013-15 and just the fourth school in Minnesota high school boys tennis history to accomplish the feat.

“It puts us in the history books to a certain extent,” said head coach Luke Elifson. “There are a couple other teams that have three-peated in Class A, but it shows what our team is… They’ve earned that moniker.”

St. Paul Academy entered the 2024 season with the expectation of pushing for another championship. Elifson said his players “operated humbly but really with a purpose this year” after earning a reputation of winning.

“When you win one, the pressure of learning how to win is there, but then the second one… everybody knows who you are by the time you’ve won two in a row… It does ass an element of pressure and just how you approach things,” he said.

The team finished the regular season as the top-ranked team in its class with a 16-6 record. They swept both Minnewaska in the first round and Rock Ridge in the semifinal, respectively, on the way to its state championship matchup with Breck.

Despite the consistent success, St. Paul Academy assistant coach Max Hommeyer believes his team “peaked at the right time.”

“We had some rough matches. [We] lost our first match of the year, lost some tight ones in April and early-May but kind of got things rolling… really picked up at the right time,” said Hommeyer.

Prior to its three-peat, the Spartans captured back-to-back state titles in 2007 and 2008 but fell short of its third straight state title in 2009. Capturing its third straight championship puts the school in an elite class in which very few teams have been labeled – a

“We proved it this year that we are that good. The team earned it,” said Elifson.

Having accomplished this feat only adds more pressure for the following season. And with five players leaving the program, the pressure will fall on those returning, some of which haven’t seen a lot of action this year.

“Just putting in the work this summer,” said Hommeyer. “We have a lot of young guys who played at the bottom of the lineup who are eager to take that next step. We’re going to have five really important seniors graduate, so they [have to] step up and fill their shoes.”

“It was a really good test of where we stack up in the greater scheme of things, and it was a good way to push ourselves,” said Elifson. “You’ll again stay humble and build off that knowing we’re in Class A and there is another tier above us.”

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