Cloquet tennis player brings home consolation championshipCloquet High School sophomore Christian Pritchett made his decision regarding his favorite spring sport. Last weekend, he demonstrated why he made the right choice.
By: Jeff Papas, Pine Journal
Cloquet High School sophomore Christian Pritchett made his decision regarding his favorite spring sport. Last weekend, he demonstrated why he made the right choice.
As a freshman, Pritchett held down the No. 4 singles spot on the varsity tennis team. Last weekend, he ran the table after dropping his first match to win the consolation championship at a United States Tennis Association (USTA) tournament event at Henry Sibley High School.
The event was a fundraiser for that school’s tennis program. Pritchett played five matches in three days, going 4-1 in the U-16 part of their tournament.
“I like tennis better than baseball [his other sport],” Pritchett said. “There’s no standing around in tennis and I like that.”
Pritchett’s natural ability earned repeated praise from varsity coach Steve Rickstrom last season. The coach commented that it was very rare to be able to plug a freshman into a singles spot in a varsity lineup with a strong expectation of earning a team point.
Pritchett has built on that momentum in two tournaments already this summer, having played in a USTA-sanctioned event in Duluth earlier this summer. He’s also scheduled to travel to North Oaks in the Twin Cities this weekend for another event.
“The Duluth event was fun,” Pritchett said. “I didn’t get to play as many matches but I got to play against very good players.” Pritchett played in the U-18 field in that event.
Pritchett, 15, has taken on a heavy summer schedule.
“Basically, I’m coached by my dad,” Pritchett said. “He goes to all my varsity matches and I learn a lot from him.”
The difference between the summer tournaments and varsity tennis is profound.
“There’s nobody watching you at the tournaments,” Pritchett said. “You also don’t have varsity coaches around you, and you aren’t around teammates. But, it’s just as much fun.”
The fun element is what helped Pritchett make his decision between sports.
“You get to move around a lot,” he said. “There’s not a lot of watching like there is in baseball. That was big for me in choosing between them.”