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BOYS TENNIS: Bemidji loses section title match, denied back-to-back state berths

The Lumberjacks will now continue their postseason with the Section 8AA Individual Tournament. North Division subsection play begins at 11 a.m. Tuesday, May 24, in Alexandria.

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Bemidji Lumberjacks
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SARTELL -- One year after its section championship ended a 47-year drought, the Bemidji High School boys tennis team was one win away from going back-to-back.

But the historic day belonged to Becker, the South subsection's No. 1 seed who defeated the North No. 1 Lumberjacks 5-2 on Friday in Sartell to knock off the defending champs and end Bemidji’s team season. The Bulldogs’ victory clinched their first section championship in program history.

Earlier in the day, BHS won a thrilling semifinal match against South No. 2 seed St. Cloud, winning 4-3 to advance to the championship.

But it wasn’t meant to be against Becker. The Bulldogs only dropped one match on each the singles and doubles courts, winning three matches in straight sets and grinding out another two three-set victories.

Against St. Cloud, Bemidji’s Aidan Larson and Jack McNallan played the heroes with their clinching win at No. 2 doubles. With the team score tied at 3-3, Larson and McNallan rallied from a first-set loss and won it in three sets.

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Every other match was finalized, so the season’s fate was in their hands. In dramatic fashion, the duo posted a 6-7, 6-3, 6-2 win and booked a trip to the Jacks’ third straight section championship appearance.

Also in on the victory, John McNallan won 6-1, 6-1 at third doubles, while Casey Rupp prevailed 6-0, 6-1 at No. 4 singles. Reed Johnson and Seth Lindgren earned the final BHS win of the match, posting a 6-3, 6-2 victory at No. 3 doubles.

Success was harder to find against Becker.

John McNallan won again at No. 3 singles, this time by a 6-3, 7-5 margin. Johnson and Lindgren also finished 2-0 on the day with their 6-3, 6-0 win at No. 3 doubles, but the Bulldogs claimed the rest of the matches for the title.

Bemidji finishes its team season with a 19-2 record.

The Lumberjacks will now continue their postseason with the Section 8AA Individual Tournament. North Division subsection play begins at 11 a.m. Tuesday, May 24, in Alexandria.

Bemidji 4, St. Cloud 3

Singles

No. 1: Plombom (SC) def. Benhamou, 6-4, 6-2

No. 2: Fenstad (SC) def. N. Johnson, 6-3, 6-4

No. 3: Jo. McNallan (BHS) def. Cai, 6-1, 6-1

No. 4: Rupp (BHS) def. Simon, 6-0, 6-1

Doubles

No. 1: Garden/Atkinson (SC) def. Harris/Fuhrman, 6-1, 6-3

No. 2: Larson/Ja. McNallan (BHS) def. Vogel/Stang, 6-7, 6-3, 6-2

No. 3: R. Johnson/Lindgren (BHS) def. Eiynk/Vogel, 6-3, 6-2

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Becker 5, Bemidji 2

Singles

No. 1: Z. Bengtson (BEK) def. Benhamou, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2

No. 2: B. Bengtson (BEK) def. N. Johnson, 6-3, 6-2

No. 3: Jo. McNallan (BEM) def. Peterson, 6-3, 7-5

No. 4: Nuest (BEK) def. Rupp, 6-3, 6-3

Doubles

No. 1: Scheideman/Bordson (BEK) def. Harris/Fuhrman, 6-4, 6-4

No. 2: Brown/Gruber (BEK) def. Ja. McNallan/Larson, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5

No. 3: R. Johnson/Lindgren (BEM) def. Baker/Herdina, 6-3, 6-0

Micah Friez is the sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he joined the Pioneer in 2015 and is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing. Follow him on Twitter at @micahfriez for Lumberjack and Beaver updates.
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