GIRLS TENNIS: Savannah Haugen reaches new heights with individual section title
“You’re going to remember (Savannah Haugen's) name for a long time because she’s a favorite player within the program," BHS head coach Kyle Fodness said.
SARTELL -- Savannah Haugen went back for seconds on Saturday.
A day after helping the Bemidji High School girls tennis team to a section title , the Lumberjack senior won the Section 8AA Individual Tournament for her second championship in as many days.
“If you know Savannah as a competitor, (reaching state) has been a goal of hers for a long time,” BHS head coach Kyle Fodness said. “You get one shot at it. She did a wonderful job facing that mental adversity. … When you talk about taking on that mental toughness challenge, she passed with flying colors.”
Haugen breezed through the competition on Saturday. She beat Willmar’s Allie Bruhn 6-1, 6-1 in the quarterfinal round, then Annandale’s Faith Simon 6-0, 6-3 in the semifinals.
That set up a showdown with a familiar face -- Moorhead’s Katrina Hansen -- for the section crown. And Haugen didn’t disappoint.
Haugen left little room for suspense, claiming a 6-1, 6-2 victory and vaulting herself into the state tournament in style.
“She has played Katrina Hansen from Moorhead before,” Fodness said. “She’s had two tough, very close three-set matches. This was the most decisive of their scores.”
Haugen is the first individual from Bemidji to reach the state tournament since Abbie Kelm did so three straight years from 2015-17. This will be Haugen’s first trip to state as an individual, but she’ll likely be remembered within the same rarified air as Kelm.
“You always root for a teammate, but you can tell the passion her teammates and people around the program feel for her,” Fodness said of Haugen. “You’re going to remember her name for a long time because she’s a favorite player within the program.
“It’s easy to cheer for a player like her. You definitely hear a lot of Lumberjacks who do.”
The BHS doubles pairing of Chloe Hasbargen and Emily Dondelinger also reached the section semifinals, but their luck ran out before a state berth was within reach.
In the quarterfinals against Foley’s Brooke Beier and Savannah Gapinski, Hasbargen and Dondelinger reeled off a 7-5, 7-5 victory. But they advanced to face St. Cloud Tech’s Ella Marohl and Paige Tarrolly in the semifinals, letting a first-set win slip away for a 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4 loss.
In the third-place match, Hasbargen and Dondelinger fell 6-3, 7-5 to Becker’s Ayla Brown and Dani Nuest to close their individual season.
“They had to run a gauntlet of playing three really tough teams,” Fodness said. “They beat one of them, had a really close match with the second, then in that third match… they played, I thought, some of their best tennis in their last three games against Becker.
“They already knew at that point that they had been eliminated from state. That was really a great way, short of sending them to state as well, to close out the weekend.”
For Haugen, the Class AA Individual Tournament will be Oct. 28-29 in the Twin Cities. The Lumberjacks will also compete in the Class AA Team Tournament on Oct. 26-27.