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Bemidji tops Grand Rapids with revamped lineup

GRAND RAPIDS — With the team score knotted at 3-3 all eyes were on the conclusion of the first doubles battle during Thursday’s Bemidji High School boys tennis meet against Grand Rapids.

“It all came down to first doubles,” said BHS coach Mark Fodness.

Isak Sommer and Gabe Heifort were playing their initial match as first doubles partners and they were paired against the top Thunderhawks team of Tom Lasik and Dustin Erickson.

“Isak and Gabe practiced Wednesday night for the first time and on Thursday they made some great adjustments and communicated really well,” Fodness said.

Those adjustments paid immediate dividends as Sommer and Heifort outlasted their opponents and earned a 6-2, 6-7 (1-7), 6-4 victory. That win also gave the Lumberjacks a 4-3 team triumph and reversed a 4-3 loss to Grand Rapids on April 25.

“The entire crowd was applauding after the many great points won by both teams because the level of play was that good,” Fodness said.

“It was great to see 14 of our guys glued to the fence watching every point and cheering for their teammates. That was a nice step forward for this team and it showed growth on the part of the players,” the coach added.

Earlier in the meet Bemidji split the singles matches and posted a victory at third doubles. Doing that honor was the team of Sam Howard and Garrett Atteberry which swept its opponent 6-4, 6-3.

Winning at third singles was Kevin Sorenson while Nick Shultz was a straight-set winner at fourth singles.

Evan White fell at first singles as did Kole Pankow at second. Dropping an extended match at second doubles were Noah Holter and Robert Treuer who were nipped 6-2, 2-6, 6-2.

“This was a great win for the team today,” Fodness said. “With some players absent we adjusted the lineup and just challenged everyone to step up and play their best tennis. It was asking a lot of the players but everyone battled.

“Our first and second singles were playing those positions for the first time this year and our 3 and 4 singles were playing their first meaningful varsity matches,” Fodness continued. “And at third doubles we controlled play for most of the time.”

The Jacks (11-3) will hope to continue that momentum in today’s regular season finale at Park Rapids.

Bemidji 4, Grand Rapids 3


Johnston (GR) def. White 6-0, 6-0

Pallin (GR) def. Pankow 6-1, 6-0

Sorenson (B) def. Hemmila 7-5, 6-0

Shultz (B) def. Anderson 7-5, 6-2


Sommer and Heifort (B) def. Lasik and Erickson 6-1, 6-7 (1-7), 6-4

Anderson and Mattson (GR) def. Holter and Treuer 6-2, 2-6, 6-2

Howard and Atteberry (B) def. Dulong and Ciotti 6-4, 6-3

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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