FHS’ Becker nets 3rd in section

ST. PETER – Grant Becker became one of only eight finalists in the running for the Class A Triple A Award on the strength of earning an incredible 19 letters in extracurricular activities.

The Fairmont senior standout added one more achievement to his impressive prep resume – bronze medalist in singles tennis in Section 2A.

Becker recorded a pair of late-set break points to produce a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Holy Family Catholic eighth-grade phenom Jake Sandefur during the sectional’s third-place match on Friday inside the Swanson Tennis Center in St. Peter.

“I’m real happy with the way it (prep tennis career) ended,” said Becker. “When we started practicing in March, I would never have thought I’d be playing today (Day 2 of the sectional singles tournament).”

While Becker did not get the chance to play a true-second challenge match for the right to advance to the Class A individual state meet, the Cardinals’ captain maintained his usual humble demeanor.

“Going into the semifinal against Nate, I knew the odds of me beating him weren’t very good,” Becker said in reference to squaring off against eventual Section 2 runner-up singles netter Nathan Huber of St. Peter. “Just to break his serve today was one of my biggest achievements in tennis.

“You just can’t feel bad losing to a guy as nice and talented as Nate is.”

After Huber downed Becker in their semifinal match via back-to-back 6-2 sets, Mound Westonka freshman Luke Moorhead defeated the St. Peter senior for the Section 2 singles championship in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2. Since Huber already had defeated Becker earlier in the day, there was no true-second challenge.

Moorhead celebrated his 15th birthday on Friday by opening sectional action with a 6-0, 6-0 semifinal triumph over Sandefur.

Moorhead earned his second consecutive trip to the Class A individual state meet – combining forces with Arend Turner in doubles competition a year ago. Moorhead and Turner won their 2012 state opener before losing in the quarterfinals.

Moorhead, however, is no stranger to overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles and beating the odds – the Mound Westonka player is a cancer survivor.

“He was diagnosed with leukemia at (age) 1, and had chemo until he was 5,” said Tricia Moorhead, Luke’s mother. ” … Some people have asked how he’s made it this far (in life) and I’d say it’s his competitive nature.”

Turner, Moorhead’s doubles partner in the 2012 Class A state meet, combined court skills with Brazilian foreign exchange student Lucas Valota to earn another spot in this year’s Class A state tournament on June 6-7 at the Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center in Minneapolis.

Turner and Valota opened with a 6-1, 6-1 semifinal sectional win over St. Peter’s Alex Willson and Ben Gault before downing Southwest Christian’s Rudy Lipovetz and Joe Lipovetz in the championship match, 6-3, 6-1.

Lipovetz and Lipovetz needed nearly three hours to rally for a 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4 semifinal victory over Holy Family Catholic’s Sam Forbes and Ben Forbes.

Lipovetz and Lipovetz then fended off a true-second challenge from Willson and Gault, 6-3, 6-1, to earn the sectional’s second spot at state. Willson and Gault downed Forbes and Forbes in the third-place match, 6-3, 6-3.

Section 2A Individual Meet

At Swanson Tennis Center

In St. Peter

Singles Bracket

Semifinals: Luke Moorhead (Mound Westonka) d. Jake Sandefur (Holy Family Catholic), 6-0, 6-0. Nathan Huber (St. Peter) d. Grant Becker (Fairmont), 6-2, 6-2.

Championship: Moorhead (MW) d. Huber (SP), 6-1, 6-2. Third Place: Becker (F) d. Sandefur (HFC), 6-3, 6-4.

Doubles Bracket

Semifinals: Rudy Lipovetz-Joe Lipovetz (Southwest Christian) d. Sam Forbes-Ben Forbes (Holy Family Catholic), 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4. Arend Turner-Lucas Valota (Mound Westonka) d. Alex Willson-Ben Gault (St. Peter), 6-1, 6-1.

Championship: Turner-Valota (MW) d. R. Lipovetz-J. Lipovetz (SWC), 6-3, 6-1. Third Place: Willson-Gault (SP) d. S. Forbes-B. Forbes (HFC), 6-3, 6-1. True Second: R. Lipovetz-J. Lipovetz (SWC) d. Willson-Gault (SP), 6-3. 6-3.