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BOYS TENNIS: Bemidji storms into Gillett, blanks Moorhead and Fergus Falls

The controlled confines of the Gillett Wellness Center are not where the Bemidji High School boys tennis team would traditionally play its first home matches of the season – especially in late April.

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Bemidji High School tennis coach Kyle Fodness congratulates a BHS doubles team after winning a match against Fergus Falls on Monday, April 25, 2022, at Bemidji State's Gillett Wellness Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI – The controlled confines of the Gillett Wellness Center are not where the Bemidji High School boys tennis team would traditionally play its first home matches of the season – especially in late April.

But this isn’t a traditional spring – and that’s exactly where the Lumberjacks started a run of seven straight scheduled home matches on Monday, recording back-to-back 7-0 team victories against Moorhead and Fergus Falls in a triangular held on the campus of Bemidji State.

“A big thing that helps is just saying at the beginning of the year (that) you're going to have a consistent message,” BHS head coach Kyle Fodness said. “And we've said, ‘There are going to be matches where you know that you're going to be more in control.’ We treat everyone the same. You go out and you enjoy yourself and have fun, and then you get better.”

That mindset has helped the Jacks weather a number of storms that have prevented them from using their outdoor home courts for as much as a practice. Yet they’re still off to an undefeated start – one that has their record at 6-0.

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Bemidji junior Casey Rupp returns a volley in a singles match against Fergus Falls on Monday, April 25, 2022, at Bemidji State's Gillett Wellness Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

“It's definitely been a different season to start it off,” junior Casey Rupp said. “But at the end of the day, it's still tennis. We've still played (for) a while. I think the main thing is we're just coming out having fun everyday, trying to get a little bit better with what we have. No one's complaining. So I think we're taking advantage of everything we can get.”

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Bemidji took full advantage of its opportunities on Monday. Matt Benhamou and Noah Johnson each picked up two singles wins, with Reed Johnson, Jack McNallan, John McNallan and Casey Rupp each earning one.

Two doubles tandems – Max Harris and Jacob Fuhrman, and Aidan Larson and Seth Lindgren – picked up two wins, while Jackson Bahr and Matt Brown picked up one win at No. 3 doubles and John McNallan and Rupp picked up a win at No. 1 doubles.

All told, it was a successful day for the Lumberjacks on the courts and validated the work they had put in during 6 a.m. practices at the Gillett earlier this season.

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Bemidji senior Max Harris returns a volley in a doubles match against Fergus Falls on Monday, April 25, 2022, at Bemidji State's Gillett Wellness Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

“We can't control much with when we play,” Rupp said. “So just having fun (is our focus). Our attitude is really good. That's what I like. We're all just (thinking), ‘If we don't get to play today, we'll play the next day.’ (We’ll) just get outside when we can.”

The Jacks still have three more home matches on the docket for the week, and BHS will be ready for whatever curveballs come next.

“It's really good to have a plan and organization, and (being adaptable) helps with planning,” Fodness said. “So I think the boys know what the long-term plan is, but they also know that you have to be flexible. They do a good job of, ‘I'll just take one day at a time. Let's just do today, and then we'll do tomorrow.’”

For now, the plan is to finally take the Bemidji High School courts for a triangular with Crookston and Grand Rapids starting at noon on Wednesday, April 27. But – as it always seems to be these days – that’s subject to change.

Bemidji 7, Moorhead 0

Singles

No. 1: Benhamou (BHS) def. Begeson, 6-0, 6-0

No. 2: N. Johnson (BHS) def. Skatuld, 6-0, 6-0

No. 3: Ja. McNallan (BHS) def. Lopez, 6-1, 6-3

No. 4: R. Johnson (BHS) def. Huzlidine, 6-1, 6-1

Doubles

No. 1: Jo. McNallan/Rupp (BHS) def. Hansen/Voxlund, 6-0, 6-1

No. 2: Harris/Fuhrman (BHS) def. Filfi/Lee, 6-0, 6-1

No. 3: Larson/Lindgren (BHS) def. Lien/Kjos, 6-1, 6-0

Bemidji 7, Fergus Falls 0

Singles

No. 1: Benhamou (BHS) def. B. Scheirer, 6-0, 6-1

No. 2: N. Johnson (BHS) def. Ness, 6-1, 6-0

No. 3: Jo. McNallan (BHS) def. Ackerson, 6-0, 6-1

No. 4: Rupp (BHS) def. R. Scheirer, 6-2, 6-1

Doubles

No. 1: Harris/Fuhrman (BHS) def. Johnson/Leopold, 6-0, 6-1

No. 2: Larson/Lindgren (BHS) def. Flugstad/Reed, 6-0, 6-2

No. 3: Bahr/Brown (BHS) def. Marquette/Pajari, 6-1, 6-1

Related Topics: BEMIDJI LUMBERJACKSTENNIS
Christian Babcock is a sports reporter at the Bemidji Pioneer. He trekked to Bemidji from his hometown of Campbell, Calif., after graduating from the Cronkite School at Arizona State University in 2021. Follow him on Twitter at @CB_Journalist for updates on the Lumberjacks and Beavers or to suggest your favorite local restaurant.
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