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Jacks tennis takes second at Pine City meet

The competitive fall sports seasons at Bemidji High School officially began Monday when the girls tennis team captured second place at the eight-team Pine City tournament.

BHS scored 24 team points and trailed only Blake which had 31. Mounds Park Academy placed third with 22 and Staples-Motley tied with Rochester Lourdes for fourth with 18.

Trailing the pack were Litchfield with 17, Holy Family Catholic with 12 and Pine City with five.

The tennis team will be in action again Saturday at the Crookston Invitational. That competition will be part of a busy weekend which begins Friday with the girls and boys soccer teams entertaining Little Falls at the middle school field and the volleyball squad heading to Perham.

The girls soccer match is set for a 4 p.m. start while the boys will begin at 6 p.m.

In addition to the tennis team visiting Crookston, Saturday's slate sees the swimmers at Willmar, the girls soccer team at Walker-Hackensack-Akeley and the boys soccer team hosting Hillcrest Academy at 3 p.m.

"It was a great way to begin the season," said BHS tennis coach Mark Fodness of Monday's performance. "Things could not have worked out better for us. Nobody was keeping track of the team points because everyone was focusing on individual play. The goal wasn't to win the tournament. The goal was to gauge individual play and determine what the players need to work on.

"That was what we concentrated on but at the end of the day, when we finished second in a field of this caliber, we feel very good about our play," Fodness added.

Monday's lineup saw senior Cortne Solberg at first singles, sophomore Jessica Solberg at second and sophomore Amy Frosaker at third.

Freshman MacKenzie Schultz opened the day at fourth singles but she was sideline after her first match because of shin splints and freshman Claudia Bellew took her place.

Cortne Solberg went 1-2 Monday and finished fourth. Jessica Solberg fashioned a 3-0 record and took the championship.

Frosaker posted a 2-1 mark and captured second place while Schultz was 0-1 and Bellew 2-0 on way to the consolation crown.

In doubles action, juniors Katie Ditmanson and Emma Nielsen went 1-2 at first doubles and placed seventh, sophomore Claire Baumgartner and junior Haley Pollock were 1-2 at second and finished fourth and freshman Jenna Lee teamed with eighth grader Francesca Huerd for a 3-0 record and the championship at third.

"We started the season feeling that we have a strong squad but we are young and we weren't sure what to expect," Fodness, who took over the head coaching reins from Scott Engelstad this year, said.

"After Monday's performance we can go into the early part of the season with the confidence that we have the talent and if we work hard we will have a successful season."

The coach believes that the squad has the potential to battle for a section championship and that will be the goal.

"The tradition of Bemidji girls tennis is that every season we should win the sub-region and put ourselves in a position to get into the region title match," Fodness said. "That level of play is what we strive for each year.

"This year the girls are at the point where we can do that."

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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