Prep boys tennis: Blesener shines in Cloquet loss

With several players still in middle school playing varsity matches, the Lumberjacks are building a solid foundation for future success.

Cloquet’s Adam Blesener returns a shot during his match at No.2 singles at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex in Superior Tuesday, May 18, 2021. (Jed Carlson /

Cloquet senior Adam Blesener wasn’t perfect in his win over Superior’s Jaxson Vo, but the 6-2, 6-1 win in the Lumberjacks’ 4-3 loss to the Spartans on Tuesday, May 18, was one of the highlights of the season for Cloquet.

Despite struggling with his serve early on, Blesener was able to keep Vo on his heels and put together a solid win.

“My serve was a little bit rocky at first, but my forehands were coming together for me,” Blesener said. “I was just able to make really good contact with the ball throughout the entire match and later on my serve really came together and definitely won me some points.”

Coach Derek Johnson was impressed with the dominating win.

“After the match I told him, ‘The only thing that didn’t look pretty about your match was the warmup,’” Johnson said. “Otherwise, I thought he played really good, clean tennis, and he was really hitting his strokes. I told him that was the best tennis he’s played this year.”


Blesener is one of just two seniors playing on the varsity squad against Superior, but the Lumberjacks are rebuilding after losing several players in 2019 and losing the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cloquet even had three middle school students — seventh-grader Ethan Lavan and eighth-graders Marco Zegan and Max Sundquist — play matches against the Spartans.

Cloquet’s Logan Beck returns a shot during his match at No. 1 singles at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex in Superior Tuesday, May 18, 2021. (Jed Carlson /

The Lumberjacks have taken their lumps all season, but the experience they are gaining on the court in 2021 will play dividends down the road.

“One thing that we’ve been really impressed with is the eighth-graders are really starting to serve well,” Johnson said. “They’re getting some motion in; they’re getting some spin on the ball. That’s what you like to see, especially at a young age.”

Cloquet’s Ethan Lavan returns a shot during his match at No. 1 doubles at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex in Superior on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. (Jed Carlson /


Blesener said he’s seen tremendous growth from the younger members of the Lumberjack squad over the past few weeks.

“We have some middle schoolers playing varsity this year that have never even picked up a tennis racquet before,” Blesener said. “They’ve made so much improvement — in the past two weeks alone, they’ve doubled the speed of their shots, and they’re so much more consistent. It’s really helped the team.”

In a scheduling change, Cloquet will travel to play Aitkin at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 19, in the first round of the Section 7AA tournament.

Superior 4, Cloquet 3

Singles — Zach Leno, S, def. Logan Beck 6-4, 6-2; Adam Blesener, C, def. Jaxson Vo 6-2, 6-1; Brodie Raygor, S, def. Jonah Bryant-Nikko 6-3, 6-3; Diedrick Nikoi, S, def. Tyler Leppi 3-6, 6-4, 7-5.

Doubles — Ty Wolter-Ethan Lavan, C, def. Kaden Olson-Trevor Soderland 7-5, 6-1; Archer Siers-Vinnie Theisen, S, def. Marco Zegan-Max Sundqist 6-4, 6-4; T.J. Sabyan-Sam Bailey, C, def. Allen Nelson-Julian Robbins 6-2, 6-1.

Jamey Malcomb has a been high school sports reporter for the Duluth News Tribune since October 2021. He spent the previous six years covering news and sports for the Lake County News-Chronicle in Two Harbors and the Cloquet Pine Journal. He graduated from the George Washington University in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in history and literature and also holds a master's degree in secondary English education from George Mason University.
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