TENNIS: Bemidji outlasts field to win Northwest Quad
BEMIDJI — A long winless streak in the annual Northwest Quadrangular came to an end Thursday as the Bemidji boys tennis team outlasted Thief River Falls, East Grand Forks and Crookston at the high school and middle school courts.
The Lumberjacks gutted out 13 team points in the tournament and tied Thief River Falls for the top spot. In head-to-head matches, however, BHS nipped the Prowlers 4-3 and that decisive extra point gave the Jacks the team title.
“I really don’t know when the last time was that we won the Northwest Quad but I would think it’s been a long while,” said BHS coach Mark Fodness. “We went into the tournament knowing that every point would count and that certainly was the case.”
Bemidji earned two individual titles as Noah Holter claimed third singles and Alex Hess was the champion at fourth singles.
Both had perfect 3-0 records in their dual matches.
“Noah and Alex took care of business against Crookston and East Grand Forks and both came up with key wins against Thief River,” Fodness said.
At second singles Isak Sommer finished second, defeating his Crookston foe 6-4, 6-1 and rallying to edge David Szeto of Thief River Falls 1-6, 7-6 (9-7), (10-4).
“Isak played well to win his first match and then came back after dropping the first set to win a cliffhanger against TRF,” Fodness said. “That match was a key for us.”
At first singles Matt Hokanson went 1-2, defeating Crookston but losing to his opponents from East Grand Forks and Thief River Falls.
“Matt played well but had the toughest matchup of the day,” Fodness said. “Despite being under the weather he battled two very tough players but lost. But he managed to win a match and earn an important point.”
In doubles the Lumberjacks collected a pair of second place finishes, a third and a fourth.
Robert Treuer and Sam Howard lost all three of their matches while Garret Atteberry and Gabe Heifort went 2-1. Evan White and Kole Pankow duplicated that 2-1 finish at third doubles and Nick Schultz and Rocky Copiskey finished 1-2 at fourth doubles.
“First doubles was a very strong field and Robert and Sam are not that far away from turning some of those losses into victories,” Fodness said.
“After Gabe and Garrett defeated Thief River Falls in the second set tiebreaker I thought we had a good chance to win the title,” the coach continued.
“Evan and Kole lost a heartbreaking 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, (11-9) match to Thief River in the first round and we needed to beat Crookston to have enough points to win the team title. They were down 3-4 in that match but came on strong to take it 6-4.”
Earlier in the day Schultz and Copiskey earned one important point at fourth doubles which set the table for the dramatic victory by White and Pankow.
“This was a great win for the guys,” Fodness said. “Overall, the play by all of the teams was very impressive considering that the temperature never got above 34 and that the wind made it feel like it was in the mid-20s.”
The Lumberjacks will try to continue their success today when they visit Brainerd.
Bemidji 13, Thief River Falls 13, East Grand Forks 8, Crookston 8
First singles: Hokanson (B) def. Salentiny (Cr) 6-1, 6-0; Misialek (EGF) def. Hokanson 6-3, 6-0; Engelstad (TRF) def. Hokanson 6-3, 6-2
Second singles: Sommer (B) def. Gregg (Cr) 6-4, 6-1; Straw (EGF) def. Sommer 6-2, 6-3; Sommer def. Szeto (TRF) 1-6, 7-6 (9-7), (10-4)
Third singles: Holter (B) def. Garmen (Cr) 6-0, 6-0; Holter def. Albaaj (EGF) 6-0, 6-2; Holter def. Blowers (TRF) 6-7 (3-7), 6-0, 10-3
Fourth singles: Hess (B) def. Phaiah (Cr) 6-1, 6-1; Hess def. Rhen (EGF) 6-1, 6-1; Hess def. Johnson (TRF) 6-3, 6-3
First doubles: Tiedemann and Vatthauer (Cr) def. Treuer and Howard (B) 6-3, 6-2; Wiertzema and Campos (EGF) def. Treuer and Howard 6-2, 6-4; Olson and Hutton (Cr) def. Treuer and Howard 6-1, 6-1
Second doubles: Atteberry and Heifort (B) def. Cote and Croaker (EGF) 6-1, 6-3; Mercil and Williams (Cr) def. Atteberry and Heifort 6-3, 6-3; Atteberry and Heifort def. Horlen and Nessen (TRF) 6-4, 7-6 (8-6)
Third doubles: White and Pankow (B) def. Erickson and Bjorgo (Cr) 6-1, 6-4; White and Pankow def. Johnson and Zeman (EGF) 6-2, 6-3; Hutton and Olson (TRF) def. White and Pankow 6-7 (3-7), 6-1, (11-9)
Fourth doubles: Schultz and Copiskey (B) def. Bengston and Roesch (Cr) 6-3, 6-4; Bechold and Gander (EGF) def. Schultz and Copiskey 6-3, 4-6, (10-7); Johnson and Dvergsten (TRF) def. Schultz and Copiskey 6-3, 6-7 (6-8), (10-8)