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Hy-Vee Athlete of the Week: Russell Lokko completes 3-peat in Kansas high school tennis

Russell Lokko
Posted at 10:14 PM, May 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-17 23:40:50-04

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Russell Lokko remembers the only set he lost in high school.

Not match, just a set.

"I played a three-setter," said Lokko, who just graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas. "I lost the first set 6-3 and then won the second and third sets, 6-1 6-1."

It was during Lokko's sophomore year at Aquinas and it was against Mill Valley's Gage Foltz, who would fall to Lokko in the 2021 5A state tennis final and the 2022 5A state tennis final.

That's it. Lokko won every other set, every other match in his career, including last weekend's 2023 5A state tennis final in Arkansas City.

It was his third straight singles state title.

"I mean, after I won it as a sophomore, I had to do it again," Lokko said.

Laura Thompson, an assistant tennis coach at St. Thomas Aquinas, said she heard about his skill, but was still surprised once she started coaching him.

"We heard he was good, but I had no idea," Thompson said.

She had the best seat in the house for Lokko, who moved to the Kansas City area from New Jersey following his freshman year.

"It's like a little bit of going to see the U.S. Open, right?" Thompson said. "You feel like it's almost at that level. He's just so poised."

Lokko wasn't able to compete as a freshman. That season was canceled due to COVID-19

He will play next year as a freshman, heading to Louisville to play for the Cardinals.