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BHS girls tennis opens season Monday at Pine City Invitational

BEMIDJI -- Ready or not, the Bemidji High School girls tennis team opens its season Monday at the eight-team Pine City Invitational.

The event features individual matches and those results will determine the team standings. Last fall the Lumberjacks won the tournament and BHS coach Mark Fodness believes this year's team could be in the hunt once again.

"We've only had a week of practice and when you begin your season this early you are never ready," Fodness said. "We have work left to do but, at the same time, we have many seniors and many athletes who played during the summer so we're probably more ready to compete than some other teams."

The seniors include Claudia Bellew, Annika Johnson, Olivia Dickinson, Kenzie Schultz, Jenna Lee, Nicolette Roy and Kayla Snell. Bellew is expected to handle the first singles chores Monday while the other seniors are slated for doubles play.

The Pine City event attracts teams that Bemidji will not see again this season and Fodness is eager to see how the Lumberjacks will fare.

"This is a good first tournament for us. Normally we match up very well against the other teams and, historically, we've done well in this meet," he said. "I think one of our strengths this year will be our balance and depth. We probably have enough kids of equal talent to form two teams. We can only play three doubles teams but I know we could have six."

Joining BHS in the tournament field are Red Wing, Mounds Park Academy, Rochester Lourdes, North Branch, South St. Paul, Litchfield and Pine City.

Bemidji's projected singles lineup includes Bellew, junior Alexis Konecne, junior Sarah McNallan and eighth grader Abbie Kelm. The doubles teams join Johnson with Dickinson, Schultz with Lee and Roy with Kayla Snell. Also expected to see action are junior Erin Edlund and senior McKayla Beaulieu.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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