New Team, Same Goals


LEFT TO RIGHT: Coach Will Mallise ‘22, Connor Chen ‘26, Dominic Beninato ‘25, Peter Killeen ‘25, Drew Van Haute ‘23, Sam Kleinschmit ‘23, Jack Flott ‘23, Owen Stricklett ‘24, Noah Stricklett ‘ 26, Patrick Berry ‘26, and Coach Chace Peterson

The Mount Michael tennis team returned to the court this fall in its quest for a third straight state title. However, the back-to-back champions will be in an unusual position this time around.
Over the last couple of years, the varsity squad has been comprised of primarily upperclassmen including state champions in doubles and singles: Will Mallisee ‘22, Ethan Pentel ‘22, Gavin Forster ‘22, Sam Lund ‘22, Colin Eich ‘22, Eric Kaps ‘22, and Isaac Gart ‘21. Since then, all of them have moved onto college.
To replace those who graduated, the team welcomed eight new faces to the varsity squad. This includes players with high school experience including Drew Van Haute ‘23, Jack Flott ‘23, Sam Kleinschmit ‘23, Owen Stricklett ‘24, and Peter Killeen ‘25. They are joined by newcomers Connor Chen ‘26, Noah Stricklett ‘26, and Patrick Berry ‘26.
The juniors and seniors will be entrusted to carry on the excellence of recent years. Having watched, practiced, and played against former state champion teammates, they have learned what it takes to succeed.
Drew Van Haute ‘23 spoke on what he learned from last year’s seniors, saying, “They set an amazing example for the whole team. They all worked so hard and made practice super fun. They played really well at state and earned a state championship.”
The upperclassmen believe it’s important to set the standard for the younger members of the team. Establishing a positive culture is often a contributing factor to the success of any team.
Jack Flott ‘23 spoke on his role as a leader, saying, “The seniors, Drew, Sam and I, help coach with practice, as well as figuring out where players fit best in our season lineup. For the underclassmen, I got to know Patrick, Connor, and Noah through playing with them at leagues and clinics this summer. I told them what to expect with the upcoming school and tennis season.”
While losing an entire varsity team may be tough, the Knights are positioned for a successful season with a solid core of seniors and juniors in addition to prominent sophomores and freshmen.
Head Coach Chace Peterson gave his outlook for the season, saying, “It’s always tough to come back strong after losing your entire state team, but the tennis team has put in the time and is ready to play. The guys really worked hard this offseason which should help us see some success.”
Despite having different amounts of high school experience within the team, varsity is a talented and tight-knit group. Players believe this will set them apart from the competition come time for the postseason.
Flott put it best saying, “The fact that our team is so close and we know each other so well is something that a lot of high school teams just don’t have.”