SARTELL -- The Bemidji High School boys tennis team came oh-so-close to its first-ever section championship on Thursday.
The Lumberjacks reached the Section 8AA Team Tournament championship in Sartell, where they led Alexandria 3-2 before an eventual 4-3 loss to the Cardinals. BHS defeated Sartell-St. Stephen 5-2 in the semifinals earlier in the day.
“I really felt we were two very evenly matched teams,” Bemidji head coach Mark Fodness said. “Alexandria deserves a lot of credit for how they battled, and our team gave a great effort, as well.”
In the championship match, Spencer Konecne won 6-2, 6-0 at top singles, and the Michael Dickinson-Quincy Wilson tandem followed suit with a 6-2, 6-1 victory at No. 3 doubles. The Cards came back with wins at second and third singles, but Silas Hess and Wyatt Harrom made a 3-6, 6-2, 6-0 comeback at No. 1 doubles for the 3-2 lead.
Alexandria made its championship push with the last two matches of the day. The Cardinals won 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 at No. 2 doubles to force a 3-3 deadlock.
“Ben (Hess) and Kolden (Michalicek) had won a lot of big matches this year, and today was just one of those matches where we fell short,” Fodness said of the second doubles match. “It seemed we were always down a game in the second and third sets, and we had our chances to take the lead but fell short. It's hard to script a more closely contested match.”
It then came down to fourth singles, but Gannon Lueck earned the title for Alexandria with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 victory.
In the semifinals, Bemidji split the singles matches and swept on the doubles side.
Konecne (6-1, 6-0) and Jonah Fuhrman (6-3, 6-4) both won in straight sets at Nos. 1 and 4 singles, respectively. Silas Hess and Harrom won 6-2, 6-4 at top doubles, and Ben Hess and Michalicek won 6-3, 6-3 at second doubles. To round it out, Dickinson and Wilson won 6-2, 6-1 at third doubles.
The Section 8AA Individual Tournament will resume at 10 a.m. today at St. Cloud Apollo. Konecne enters as the No. 2 singles seed in the North subsection, while Silas Hess and Harrom are the No. 3 doubles seed in the subsection.
Bemidji 5, Sartell-St. Stephen 2
No. 1: Konecne (BHS) def. Hindka 6-1, 6-0
No. 2: Adelman (SSS) def. Saxton 6-0, 6-0
No. 3: Hoeschen (SSS) def. Guida 6-1, 6-0
No. 4: Fuhrman (BHS) def. Lawson 6-3, 6-4
No. 1: S. Hess/Harrom (BHS) def. Fesenmaier/Connolly 6-2, 6-4
No. 2: B. Hess/Michalicek (BHS) def. Hamilton/Stalboerger 6-3, 6-3
No. 3: Dickinson/Wilson (BHS) def. Alkhatib/Peterson 6-2, 6-1
Alexandria 4, Bemidji 3
No. 1: Konecne (BHS) def. Simonson 6-2, 6-0
No. 2: Foster (ALX) def. Saxton 6-2, 6-1
No. 3: Jost (ALX) def. Guida 7-5, 6-2
No. 4: Lueck (ALX) def. Fuhrman 6-3, 3-6, 6-2
No. 1: S. Hess/Harrom (BHS) def. Wosepka/Croonquist 3-6, 6-2, 6-0
No. 2: Partington/Mulder (ALX) def. B. Hess/Michalicek 4-6, 7-5, 7-5
No. 3: Dickinson/Wilson (BHS) def. Bienusa/Wegner 6-2, 6-1