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.
HIGH TOSS — Fairmont singles player Grant Becker lofts a high toss before cranking a serve during his Section 2A individual tennis match on Friday at the Swanson Tennis Center in St. Peter. Becker went on to net a third-place medal. (Photo by Charlie Sorrells)
"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
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.
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.