Submitted photo. . Winhawks tennis duo Laney Rutkowski (left) and Molly Sanvik made it to the Minnesota girls tennis state tournament this season.
by AMELIA WEDEMEYER
It had been 16 years since the Winona Winhawks girls tennis team last made it to the state tournament, which is currently dominated by Metro-area teams as well as those from nearby Rochester. But last Thursday, the Winhawks doubles pair consisting of Winona Senior High School (WSHS) senior Molly Sanvik and freshman Laney Rutkowski made a showing at state that is sure to be remembered.
“They played some very good tennis,” said head coach Tom Sanvik, who is also Molly’s father. While the duo lost to Minnetonka High School in the first bracket, Tom said that he was proud of the way the girls battled back from a 6-0 set, and managed a 6-3 loss in the second set. “They took away [a few games] from Minnetonka, who has a great team.” Sanvik and Rutkowski narrowly lost in the consolation bracket to Mahtomedi, after losing the first set 6-4, winning the second set 4-6, and ultimately losing 10-8 in a tie breaker. Mahtomedi went on to win the consolation bracket. “It was really fun and a good experience,” Sanvik said of the state tournament games she played ith Rutkowski. “We had good chemistry together and we knew how to work with each other.”
As a team, the Winhawks girls tennis team had one of their best seasons in recent years, finishing with a record of 14 wins and only six losses. Co-captains Sanvik and WSHS senior Jill Hultgren made all conference, while Rutkowski took an all conference honorable mention. At the Big Nine tournament Rutkowski, Hultgren, senior Erin Halverson and senior Torri Lafky medaled. “Everything started to fall into place,” Tom said of the season overall. “We worked hard and we got rewarded.”