Boys Tennis: Red Wing's season comes to a closeRed Wing wrapped up its season Tuesday as senior George Gabrielson and sophomore Isaac Toivonen competed in the final four of the Section 1AA individual tournament at Owatonna High School.
By: R-E Sports Staff, The Republican Eagle
Red Wing wrapped up its season Tuesday as senior George Gabrielson and sophomore Isaac Toivonen competed in the final four of the Section 1AA individual tournament at Owatonna High School.
Gabrielson took third place and Toivonen came in fourth. Rochester Mayo’s Thomas Nath, ranked second in Class 2A, was the section champion while teammate Eric Rustad took second.
Gabrielson faced Nath in his first match Tuesday, falling 6-1, 6-0.
Toivonen took on Rustad and had him down 5-2 in the first set but lost 7-5, 6-2.
“Isaac came out on fire,” Red Wing head coach Randy Decker said. “He was playing some of the best tennis he’s played all year. Rustad came back and took it. … He’s a really hard guy to play because he doesn’t give you anything. I think Isaac had a good game plan going in. (Rustad) was just a little bit better player today.”
The two Wingers then played a match against each other in the next round, with Gabrielson winning 6-4, 6-2. It was odd to watch, Decker said.
“It was a little awkward,” he said. “It was like watching the Williams’ sisters playing each other. It’s just an awkward situation. Funny to see them stop and chat on changes.”
Gabrielson, who took fourth at the section tournament last year, played Rustad in his final match to decide second place. Rustad took the match 6-0, 6-3 but Gabrielson was content to improve his section finish each season with Red Wing, Decker said. He was in the top six his sophomore year with a different section tournament format.
“He’s been progressing every year,” Decker said. “For him to be that good for three years in that section is an accomplishment. He goes down fighting. He’s going to keep working. He went out well. He ended his career on a solid note.”
Toivonen’s performance also leaves the Wingers with optimism for the future. He was the only underclassman singles player in the final four.
“It bodes well for Isaac’s future,” Decker said. “But there’s just a ton of talent. He won’t be able to stand still because people will catch up to him. I don’t think that will be a problem for him. He’s got a real shot to come out of the section.”