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Middleton feeling relaxed going into tennis state finals

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MIDDLETON (WKOW) -- The state finals is a high pressure environment but the Middleton Cardinals are cool, calm and collected for the alternate spring finals.

"We're pretty relaxed as weird as that is to hear," said first-year Middleton coach Matt Given. "These girls are really relaxed [and] looking forward to it. We're excited. It's a goal we set for on Day One. We accomplished [getting to state] so now the pressure's off us so now we can just go out there and play tennis."

It's a new season for both Given and his players who picked up their racquets for the first time in over a year.

Senior Noor Rajpal hopes she and the team make most of the final couple weeks of the season. She's thrilled to see what the next two weeks will bring.

"Honestly, I'm just so happy we made it to team state and half of the team made it to individual state," said Rajpal. "I think everyone's really, really excited we made it this far and they're ready to compete."

Rajpal will be competing in doubles with her partner and fellow senior, Karsen Dettman. The duo enter this week's individuals meet as the No. 3 seed.

It's not the first rodeo for the seniors. The two have respectively made state finals runs in the past and have shared their wisdom with their younger teammates.

"I remember when I was a freshman or sophomore when there were girls watching and cheering me on," said Dettman, who finished second in doubles in 2018. "[Their support] really motivated and gave me confidence when I was playing."

Given appreciates all the seniors have given him during this unique transition season.

"They lead these younger girls. They help them out. It shows these younger girls that, hey, if you show up ready to go and you're prepared, the results will show," said Given.

Freshman Netra Somasundaram and sophomore Sophia Agapov will compete in this week's singles bracket for Middleton. Rose Ryan and Cece Hujanen will also be in doubles bracket with Dettman and Rajpal.

The Cardinals will play in Eau Claire for the team state semi-finals on May 1 and will play Ashwaubenon.

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Pablo Iglesias

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