Rocky McKenzie is ready to help Lincoln make it 9 straight State AA Tennis titles
Patriots start title defense Thursday in Sioux Falls
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -The State AA tennis tournament starts on Thursday. Lincoln is seeking it’s 9th straight team title led by yet another star sibling seeking to stamp himself as the top player in the state.
Zach Borg has more on our Karl’s TV & Appliance Athlete of the Week, Rocky McKenzie.
As the latest in Lincoln’s long line of top flight singles players, there’s one big difference with Rocky McKenzie. “He’s a big guy! His one leg is as big as two of mine!” Lincoln Head Coach Tom Krueger says. “Tennis can be played in all body types. You don’t have to be super skinny and fast.” McKenzie says.
Yet the junior also fits into the Patriots preference of bringing up siblings. “The younger ones get a chance of playing with their older brother all the time and that makes the younger ones even tougher and it just feeds on itself.” Krueger says.
Joined on the team by his freshman brother River, each winning state titles the past two seasons. “I mean it’s definitely nice to have a built in hitting partner whenever I want! I don’t have to schedule anything I’m just like ‘do you wanna go hit with me?’ And he’ll say yeah and we’ll go hit.” Rocky says.
After winning three singles and three doubles state championships, Rocky was elevated to the top spot this season. “My mindset lays in just being persistent with physicality. I know that I’ve been working really hard to have good conditioning and good strength.” McKenzie says.
Stepping into the role of leader. “His physicality and his mental fortitude are his big strengths. I mean if you watch him he’s just pounding the ball. He’s got a big serve, big forehand, big backhand, I mean he pounds the ball. But you never get a sense that he’s ever doubting himself on the court. And you can just see him being a little bit more vocal and trying to get the kids pumped up before matches a little more and sitting around and watching other people play their matches.” Krueger says.
With dreams as big....“I just want to get them all in the same, right mindset. Being excited, being proud of what we do. Looking to play in college the coaches are going to want you to be a little bigger so I like to think I’m nicely preparing for that sort of.” Rocky says.
....as his swing.
Zach Borg, Dakota News News Now Sports.
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