Prep newsmaker: Duluth East's Hauer courting team success in girls tennis

Duluth East junior Brynne Hauer already has competed at the state girls tennis tournament three times, including twice as an individual, but there was something extra special in 2013 when the entire team made it.The quest to qualify again begins ...

Duluth East junior tennis player Brynne Hauer hits the ball during a practice Wednesday afternoon at the Longview Tennis Courts. (Clint Austin /

Duluth East junior Brynne Hauer already has competed at the state girls tennis tournament three times, including twice as an individual, but there was something extra special in 2013 when the entire team made it.
The quest to qualify again begins Monday when the third-seeded Greyhounds host Cloquet-Esko-Carlton in the first round of the Section 7AA team competition.
“I would love to get back to state with the team again,” Hauer said. “It was a really great experience for everyone, and it’s obviously comforting to have all your friends there. We spend a lot of time together, so we get to know each other really well. They’re awesome.”
Making that 2013 state trip even more memorable was the fact that Hauer’s older sister, Elise, was a member of that Greyhounds squad. Elise is now a sophomore tennis player at St. Scholastica. The sisters are the daughters of former Minnesota Duluth and longtime NHL defenseman Brett Hauer, but tennis always has been their sport.
“I started playing tennis when I was pretty young and just fell in love with it,” Brynne said. “It’s a lifetime sport, for sure, and a family sport.”
East won 11 straight Section 7AA team titles from 1985 through 1995 but then went on a drought. That skid was snapped three years ago when the Greyhounds wrested the title away from six-time defending section champion Elk River.
Princeton has taken the past two section titles but East coach Lee Kruger thinks Elk River might be the team in the way of the Greyhounds’ goal of a state trip.
“That’s always the goal,” Kruger said, laughing.
Brynne Hauer played singles and doubles this year but will again team with freshman Shay Callaway to try to make it back to the state meet, where they went 0-2. Brynne likes the individual aspect of singles, but also loves the team aspect of doubles, being able to
support your teammate and friend. She leads the Greyhounds in their traditional team cheer before every match.
“Brynne is a good utility player, because she can do both singles and doubles,” Kruger said. “She just goes wherever we ask her to go. She always says, ‘Wherever you need me, coach,’ and that’s exactly what I need to hear. She’s always team first.”
Eighth-grader Aili Hietala and Callaway were East’s No. 1 and 2 singles players this year but Hauer isn’t far off. Her older sister was a six-year letterwinner for the Greyhounds, and she will be, too.
“It’s nice to get those kids coming through for six years. It certainly makes my job easier,” Kruger said. “We’ve got the young guns, but Brynne is in the mix, too. Brynne is a little bit streaky, but when she’s on, no one can beat her. She’s got a big forehand, groundstrokes, volleys, she’s got all the tools. When she’s confident, she is really, really tough to beat. Their dad was known for hockey, but between her and her sister, tennis has certainly taken over.”
The closest the girls ever came to hockey was figure skating.
Parents Brett and Hilaire have a tremendous amount of love and respect for tennis. They rarely miss one of Brynne’s matches, and they still occasionally challenge the sisters on the court.
Advantage sisters.
“It’s usually Elise and I against the parents,” Brynne said, laughing. “I’d say we win most of the time just because my parents aren’t exactly in shape as much as they have been in the past. We have fun with it.”
Through her father’s travels as a professional hockey player, the Hauer sisters had a unique upbringing. Brynne was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and also lived in Switzerland and Russia.
But after all those travels, Duluth was always home. Brynne Hauer is considering going to college here. While she has interest in the University of Minnesota and North Dakota State, she said reuniting with her sister at St. Scholastica is a definite possibility.
“Elise comes home to see us a lot, and getting to see our dog, Mabel, is just a plus,” Brynne said. “I’d love to join her at St. Scholastica, but I’ve still got a year to go. A lot could change, but we’ll see.”

Prep Newsmaker: Brynne Hauer
Prep status: Duluth East junior
Age: 16
Sports: Tennis
GPA: 3.75
School activities: Key Club and Hound Pack leader, where upperclassmen help orientate incoming freshmen
Family: Father, Brett; mother, Hilaire; sister Elise, 19
Pet: Mabel (golden retriever)

Face-to-face with Brynne Hauer
If I could meet one person – dead or alive – who would it be? Serena Williams
If school were closed today, I would: Stay at home with Mabel (her dog), hang out with family and eat pizza
Fear or phobia: Clowns are always a little creepy
One thing most people don’t know about me: I was born in Canada (Winnipeg, Manitoba)
My ideal vacation: Anywhere warm (to her which her coach said, “You’re in the wrong state, kid.”)
Pet peeve: People constantly clicking their pens in school
Last website I visited: Infinite Campus, part of Duluth Public Schools
If I had a million dollars, I’d buy: Plane tickets to travel, and a lot of stuff for Mabel
The toughest athlete I’ve competed against: Girls on our team, including our No. 1 and 2 singles, Aili Hietala and Shay Callaway
Hobbies: I sing in our choir at school and at Holy Rosary
Favorite singer: Adele
Car I drive: 2016 Nissan Rogue
Favorite home-cooked meal: Mom’s lasagna (Dad does the grilling, which is good, too)
At the top of my bucket list is: Skydiving
If you could star in any type of movie, what genre would it be: Horror
Best postgame meal: Pasta
Social media of choice: Instagram

Jon Nowacki joined the News Tribune in August 1998 as a sports reporter. He grew up in Stephen, Minnesota, in the northwest corner of the state, where he was actively involved in school and sports and was a proud member of the Tigers’ 1992 state championship nine-man football team.

After graduating in 1993, Nowacki majored in print journalism at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, serving as editor of the college paper, “The Aquin,” and graduating with honors in December 1997. He worked with the Associated Press during the “tobacco trial” of 1998, leading to the industry’s historic $206 billion settlement, before moving to Duluth.

Nowacki started as a prep reporter for the News Tribune before moving onto the college ranks, with an emphasis on Minnesota Duluth football, including coverage of the Bulldogs’ NCAA Division II championships in 2008 and 2010.

Nowacki continues to focus on college sports while filling in as a backup on preps, especially at tournament time. He covers the Duluth Huskies baseball team and auto racing in the summer. When time allows, he also writes an offbeat and lighthearted food column entitled “The Taco Stand,” a reference to the “Taco Jon” nickname given to him by his older brother when he was a teenager that stuck with him through college. He has a teenage daughter, Emma.

Nowacki can be reached at or (218) 380-7027. Follow him on Twitter @TacoJon1.
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