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TENNIS: Bemidji season finally gets going with indoor meet at East Grand Forks

BEMIDJI – Barring a storm that prevents travel, the Bemidji High School boys tennis team will belatedly begin its schedule 10 a.m. today at the indoor courts in East Grand Forks against the Green Wave.

The extended winter has already forced school officials to cancel three meets and today’s action was originally scheduled to be played outdoors.

Next week the Lumberjacks are scheduled to visit Detroit Lakes on Tuesday and Thief River Falls on Thursday but those meets also appear to be in jeopardy.

Bemidji High School does not have any venue suitable for extensive indoor tennis practice, so the Lumberjacks’ varsity players have been limited to a handful of early-morning workouts at the Gillett Recreation and Fitness Center on the BSU campus.

Because of the lack of practice time there are as many questions about the players and their abilities as there are answers. Consequently, if time allows, Jacks coach Mark Fodness plans on giving all of his varsity players time on the court today, either in competition or in exhibition play.

Despite the lack of practice time, however, Fodness has been impressed with his players.

“The players and their parents have adapted to what we have needed to do,” Fodness said. “It is a commitment to practice at 6 a.m. at the Rec Center but nobody is complaining. The attitudes have been terrific. Everybody is competing hard every day.”

Today’s projected singles lineup includes seniors Alex Hess and Isak Sommer, sophomore Matt Hokanson and freshman Noah Holter.

The possible doubles tandems join Sam Howard with Robert Treuer, Gabe Heifort with Garret Atteberry and Evan White with Kole Pankow.

“What I have learned so far is how even everybody on the team really is,” Fodness said. “The four singles players have played round-robin matches in practice and every day someone else comes out on top. And the same is true for the three top doubles teams.

“There really isn’t a 1-2-3-4 singles or 1-2-3 doubles. Everybody seems to be equal.”

Hoping to compete in exhibition play today are Alejandro Minoamillategui, Donald Erickson, Kevin Sorensen, Rocky Copiskey and Nick Schultz.

“We are tired of playing against each other and we’re looking forward to playing competitive matches against somebody else,” Fodness said. “We’re looking forward to finally opening our season.”

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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