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Tomhave second in consolations

Peter Tomhave of Cloquet-Esko-Carlton did something last week that no one in program history is believed to have ever accomplished before: He won two matches at the Minnesota State Class A tennis tournament.

"I didn't know that," Tomhave said when informed of his accomplishment. "That makes it an even better year."

After losing in the first round of the bracket to second seed and eventual third-place winner Drew Elofson of St. Peter, Tomhave rebounded in consolation play. He defeated Jim Erickson of Luverne 7-5, 6-4 to move on to the second round of consolation and also get to the second day — another first for a CEC program player.

Tomhave kept things rolling the next day, defeating Ben Stevenson of Fridley 6-4, 6-4 to reach the consolation finals, where he fell to fourth-overall seed Ariun Goswitz of Minnehaha Academy.

Still, second place in the consolation tournament isn't bad at all.

"It's a tremendous accomplishment," CEC coach Derek Johnson said. "When you consider we had absolutely no practice time before we were out playing matches, what Peter did is incredible."

Tomhave had to find his stroke while playing in live matches, which led to a slow start.

"I didn't start well," he said. "It was real frustrating at first."

"Peter was playing first singles for us, playing the other team's best player, and it wasn't going well at first," Johnson said. "But then it all came together for him."

Tomhave pointed to the Hibbing match as the turning point of his season.

"I played very well that day and after that things came together," he said. Tomhave won 10 of his next 11 matches before sections began.

And once there, he began to doubt himself.

"I didn't think I was playing as well as I could," he said. "But sections showed otherwise."

Tomhave finished a "true second" at sections and earned a trip to state. It didn't hurt that the player who beat him, David Bush of Duluth Denfeld, won the individual state championship in Class A.

"I found out that I could hit with the best players in the state," Tomhave said. "That was huge."

And it will be huge next year as well, when Tomhave returns for his senior season.

"What that means for Peter and his teammates is that he's shown how it's done," Johnson said. "Peter would practice, go home and eat, and come back to hit balls against the machine afterward to hone his game."

Tomhave is a perfectionist and as a baseline player, that's important. At state, some points can take more than a dozen ground strokes per player to complete.

"If I wasn't happy with my forehand, I'd go out in the evening and hit until I was happy with how I was playing," Tomhave said. "It was to play to my own level of satisfaction."

That level of dedication is not only impressive, it's the kind of dedication that builds champions.

"Everyone, especially the young kids, can look up to Peter now," Johnson said.

Tomhave, along with doubles players Kade Bender and Ryan Fredrickson, also earned All-Lake Superior Conference status for their play this spring.

Two years ago, Class of 2018 graduate Robbie Sobczak and 2016 alumnus Ryan Willgohs became the first tennis players in program history to win a match at the Minnesota State Boys Tennis Tournament in over 30 years.