In the end, the early returns proved spot-on.
A Wayzata victory appeared to be a certainty not long after the final began Wednesday, but matters got much more competitive quickly. The Trojans persevered for a 5-2 victory over Rochester Mayo, winning the team title in the Class 2A boys tennis state tournament at Baseline Tennis Center.
After a regular season in which the No. 1-ranked Trojans did not lose a match to a team from Minnesota — their only loss was to New Trier of Winnetka, Ill., in April — expectations were high. They've been on the cusp of a state championship for the past four years, going back to 2020, when COVID-19 likely robbed them of their first state title since 2019.
In 2021, they lost to rival Edina in the final, and last year they collapsed after a strong start in a loss to eventual state champion Orono in the section final.
With a roster headed up by 6-7 Collin Beduhn, the state's No. 1 singles player, this was the title Wayzata simply could not let slip away.
"This was four years in the making," said coach Jeff Prondzinski, in his 21st year as head coach. "So this is one of those days when you feel relief. You feel good for the seniors, that they get the chance to enjoy it."
Wayzata started the final with purpose, winning quickly at Nos. 2 and 3 singles. The Trojans were winning the first set in every other match, and it looked like the end would come quickly.
Then Mayo dug in.
Freshman Tej Bhagra gave Beduhn all he could handle at No. 1 singles, taking the older player to a tiebreaker in the first set before falling 7-6. Mayo pulled out victories in Nos. 1 and 3 doubles and stretched all three doubles matches to three sets.
"Our guys reached down and gave it everything they had," Mayo coach Jeff Demaray said.
When Beduhn, whose younger brother Aaron won 6-0, 6-0 at No. 2 singles, won the second set 6-4 for Wayzata's title-clinching fourth team point, he thrust his arms into the air, both to celebrate the victory and to indicate satisfaction that he had dispatched the pesky Bhagra.
"He was playing really well," said Beduhn, who will begin his pursuit of the singles championship Thursday. "This felt really good. It's all about the team. We've been close in multiple years, but to finally do it is a dream come true."
St. Paul Academy completed a season in which it had been ranked No. 1 for much of the year in dominant fashion, sweeping Rochester Lourdes 7-0 to win the Class 1A team title at Reed-Sweatt Tennis Center.
The Spartans, with nary a senior on the roster and heavy on seventh- and eighth-graders, won all three team matches 7-0, lost just two sets in the tournament and finished the season 17-3.