Bjorn Swenson, after leading Mounds View to the state tennis team championship Wednesday, captured the top individual prize as well on Friday.
The 6-foot, 145-pound freshman slugged his way to the Class AA singles championship, capped by a 6-2, 6-4 conquest of Rochester Century senior Varun Iyer.
“I left every scrap of energy I had on the court,” said Swenson, who entered the tournament as No. 4 seed. He finished the season 38-3, including splits with three opponents.
Swenson became the second individual champion in the Mounds View program after Wyatt McCoy in 2007.
“He went out there to win a state championship, and he did, and I couldn’t be prouder of him,” coach Scott Sundstrom said.
In action Thursday and Friday at the University of Minnesota, Swenson defeated Rochester Mayo senior Simon Kennel 6-3, 6-1; Blake sophomore Sujit Chepuri 6-4, 4-6, 6-3; and Orono senior Karhik Papisetty 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 to reach the finals.
Sundstrom praised Swenson for his process: “He shows up early and mentally prepares, warms his body up on the court before hitting, gets a good warm-up in, so that he is focused and ready to play. He has a clear strategy going into matches, and is able to regroup when he needs to. He is a heck of a competitor and never gives up.”
Swenson said he played several other sports growing up — soccer, hockey, baseball, football, running — but is totally focused on tennis now. “That’s the sport my parents wanted me to try, and I loved it right away,” said Swenson, adding that his father played college tennis.
Swenson is doubly thrilled to win the singles title while playing for a state championship team. “I love the team aspect of tennis,” he said. “It’s awesome to play on a team like this.”
Three players beat Swenson this year but he got payback on all three. He split two regular-season matches with Blake’s Joe Mairs. He also lost in the regular season to Eastview’s Gavin Young and to Iyer. In the state team finals, he was leading Young 6-4, 3-0 when Young sustained an achilles injury and had to withdraw. Young, top-ranked at the end of the regular season, also withdrew from singles competition.
Mounds View’s other singles entrant, eighth-grader Hank Trondson, lost in the first round to Iyer 6-2, 6-4.