MINNEAPOLIS - In an up-and-down battle between two of the state's top tennis players, it was East Ridge's Ben van der Sman that came out on top in the Class AA Singles title game Friday afternoon at the Boys State Tennis Tournament.
van der Sman, the top ranked player in Class AA, split the first two sets with Rochester Mayo High School's Sebastian Vile. In the third set, he found himself down 3-1.
"You have to be mentally tough in those moments when you're down, " Ben told KARE 11 after the match. "You really have to embrace the battle, and I went out there swinging."
vander Sman climbed out of the 3-1 deficit to take a 6-5 lead, but Vile rallied back to send it to a tiebreak.
In the tiebreak, Ben quickly fell 5-1 before an exhaustive and emotional rally back to win the deciding match.
"It was the most unbelievable experience of my life," says van der Sman. "Especially the way that I did it, coming back 1-5 in the third set tiebreaker was absolutely unbelievable. I couldn't be more proud of myself."
It wasn't easy, but the win caps off a perfect season for the East Ridge senior. van der Sman didn't lose a match all season.
Other winners at the 2017 Boys State Tennis Tournament Friday included:
A Singles: Jack Barker (Blake)
A Doubles: Ben Ingbar/Christopher Hall (Blake)
AA Doubles: Nicholas Aney/Varun Iyer (Rochester Century)