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DeKalb's Fagerstrom, Patel ready for state

Monica Maschak -
Ravi Patel returns the tennis ball in a practice match during tennis practice a DeKalb High School on Wednesday, March 26, 2014.
Monica Maschak - Ravi Patel returns the tennis ball in a practice match during tennis practice a DeKalb High School on Wednesday, March 26, 2014.

The DeKalb boys tennis team will be sending two players to Arlington Heights for the state tournament this weekend.

The Barbs' No. 1 doubles team of Micah Fagerstrom and Ravi Patel, both seniors, will be going to state for the first time in their high school careers.

"It feels fantastic," Fagerstrom said. "I have waited my whole high school career to go to state in any sport. I thought it was going to be in basketball, but I am glad it was in tennis."

The senior duo owns a record of 18-4 this season. Fagerstrom and Patel went 9-0 in the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference regular season. DeKalb coach Brad Bjelk said this season is one to remember for Fagerstrom and Patel.

"I think it was a dream season for them," Bjelk said. "I think they accomplished all of their goals. They went undefeated in conference and they were extremely proud of that."

In the conference tournament, the duo went 2-1 and finished third overall. The team the Barbs lost to was La Salle-Peru's top team. The Cavaliers duo was the eventual conference champions.

The DeKalb duo also finished third in the Ottawa Sectional. Fagerstrom and Patel's only loss was to the team from Mendota, which was the eventual champions. The La Salle-Peru team finished second in the sectional.

"We tried our best and it happens," Patel said. "We did really well during the conference season and that is all that matters."

Bjelk said the times the Barbs' duo lost to were good teams.

"During the season, they were the rock of the team," Bjelk said. "I could always depend on them to at least get me one win – striving for those team victories."

The team has been so successful this season because of how well it plays together. Fagerstrom works well toward the net and Patel has success along the baseline.

"His game is really good. He helps our team a lot. He is a good baseline player and I am a good net player. And, it just collaborates well," Fagerstrom said. "We have had some great teamwork lately. We have to finish out. We can't let teams get in. We have to win every game possible."

Patel said he is ready for the state tournament to begin.

"I am a little nervous but it is really exciting, as well," he said. "Micah and I have really good teamwork. We know how we each play."

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