TENNIS: Bemidji doubles team Hokenson, Holter, makes section meet
BRAINERD — Matt Hokanson and Noah Holter will represent the Bemidji High School tennis team in the Section 8-2A tennis tournament.
The Lumberjacks’ top doubles team won two matches during Thursday night’s Class 8-2A North Sub-Section tournament before falling in the championship match 6-0, 6-0 to St. Cloud Tech’s Luke Zweiner and Chris Mavets.
However, the top four teams from each sub-section make the Section tournament, scheduled for next Tuesday in St. Cloud. Hokanson and Holter will take on the South Sub-Section’s No. 3 team in their first match of the Section tournament.
Bemidji head coach Mark Fodness was happy with how Hokanson and Holter played Thursday against the tournament’s top seed, Zweiner and Mavets.
“That’s the same team that beat Adam Holter and Kyle Fodness in the finals last year,” Fodness said. “They’re a phenomenal team. Our kids were playing their best tennis and still lost.”
As the No. 2 seed Thursday, Hokanson and Holter had a bye into the second round.
They beat Sartell’s Ethan Lorsunf and Carl Minnerath 6-1, 6-4 in their second round match before taking on another Sartell team — the tandem of AJ Flemming and Ben Morine — in the semifinals.
The Sartell duo took a 5-0 lead over Hokenson and Holter in the first set but the Bemidji squad surged back and made a nice comeback.
“They found themselves down 0-5 fifteen minutes into the match,” Fodness said. “The key to their winning was how they handled the situation at that point. They lost the set 3-5, but won three of the next four games and you could feel the momentum starting to turn.”
Hokenson and Holter rallied and won the next two sets for a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory.
“They won the second set in a battle and then dominated the third set for a really impressive comeback,” Fodness said.
Hokenson and Holter were the only Bemidji players to win a match Thursday.
Bemidji’s other doubles team, Gabe Heifort and Isak Somer, lost to Brandon Holm and Mathias Burban of Alexandria in the first round, 6-3, 6-3.
“Gabe and Isak were playing their second match together and they really never got in a good groove,” Fodness said. “But the Alexandria team played very well and their experience showed. I was really happy with how (Gabe and Isak) competed.”
In singles, Robert Treuer and Sam Howard both lost. Neither are experienced singles players — they play mostly doubles — so Fodness said he liked the way they competed.
“They had some tough match ups in the first round,” Fodness said. “Sam and Robert really didn’t play any singles this year so they were playing some tough opponents and had to adjust on the fly. They both competed hard and played a lot of competitive games.”
Howard took on Brainerd’s DJ Kraemer and lost 6-1, 6-3, while Treuer played against Sartell’s Brandon Schuchard and lost 6-1, 6-0.
Riley Bates of St. Cloud Tech won the singles title, beating Moorhead’s Gabe Steinwand 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. Schuchard and St. Cloud Tech’s Wyatt Pauley also qualified for next week’s section tournament.