By David McCoy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota high schools have produced some awfully-good professional athletes over the years. And it’s always fun for observers to say, “Hey, I knew him when.”

Which is why you might want to try to get to a Mounds View High School boys tennis match as soon as possible.

Making the state tournament is the sign of a talented tennis player — but making the state tournament as only a seventh grader is the sign of an up-and-comer with some serious potential.

And that is what Bjorn Swenson did last season.

“I guess my biggest takeaway was that, like, I can hang with them. Like, I can do good against those guys, and that really motivates me even more,” Swenson said.

bjorn swenson Meet High School Tennis Ace Bjorn Swenson

Bjorn Swenson (credit: CBS)

He is the top-ranked eighth grader in Minnesota, obviously — but he is also ranked 76th nationally.

He is already in the company of the best in the country, but he has his sights set even higher.

“Well, obviously, I want to do better this year,” he said.

Coach Scott Sundstrom says Swenson is a really hard worker for his age.

“Really determined. No silly business with him, he gets down to business,” Sundstrom said. “I think he’s one who has future goals in mind, so he’s really goal-oriented, and he’s created smaller goals in order to get there, so really focused on that.”

Swenson does have one big goal in particular: Becoming a professional tennis player.

“That’s been my dream since, like, I first started playing tennis,” he said.

When someone has as much success as he has so young, the mind immediately jumps to wondering how good he can be when he’s older. His coach doesn’t want him to carry that kind of pressure, but his eyes are as wide as anybody’s.

“It’s hard to tell. I think the sky’s the limit for him, though,” Sundstrom said. “He wants it, like I said, and is putting in a lot of hard work. So it will be fun to track him and see what happens.”

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