DCHS tennis qualifies six for State Tourney
By Anthony Varriano
Ranger-Review Staff Writer
The Dawson County High School tennis team qualified six players from the Eastern A Divisional Tournament in Glendive, Friday, for the State Tournament to be held in Billings next weekend.
Most impressive was the lone Lady Devil qualifier, senior Annie Hill, who punched her ticket to state with a gutsy split-set victory over Hardin’s Jordan Eidam, who beat her just the day before.
“The Hardin girls were as strong as expected, bringing in almost a full team to the second day,” DCHS head coach Rich Lindgren said.
Top-seeded singles player and senior Hadyn Pettersen passed on the opportunity to play doubles and possibly place higher at State for one last shot at dethroning the defending State Champion from Billings Central, Dillon Meyer. He didn’t, falling in straight sets, but finished second in the tournament.
“The Billings Central boys proved their seeding and put themselves in a position to qualify a lot of players for State,” Lindgren said.
Freshman Jory Opp offered a glance at the future of Red Devil tennis, qualifying for State with a straight-set win over Hardin’s top-seeded singles player, Chandler Metcalf. He also gave Meyer a fight, winning five games in a straight set loss.
“Jory Opp is playing very, very well,” said Lindgren.
Opp will get another shot at Meyer next year.
Also qualifying for the boys was the top-seeded doubles team Dennis Berg and Gavin McPherson, who rolled into the final on the back of a dominant win over Billings Central’s second-seeded doubles squad of Tommy Pankratz and Jake Newberry.
Sophomores Jarod Asche and Brett Vester just missed out on a State berth, falling to Billings Central’s third-ranked doubles team of senior Nolan Trafton and junior Zach Shermerhorn. Asche and Vester’s inexperience was hardly noticed, winning their first two matches of the tournament only to run into the defending State doubles runner-ups from Billings Central, John Knisely and Harrison Fagg.
The Twin Towers, as they’re called because of their height, will prove to be headaches for opponents over the next few years.
Also just missing bids to state were both first- and second-seeded girls doubles teams, who made great progress through the consolation bracket on Thursday. They both came up one match short of qualifying for State, though.
Senior Morgan Mires and sophomore Marenah Crockett were on the verge of making a miraculous comeback after dropping the first set, 6-3, to Billings Central’s second-seeded doubles team, Sarina Aamold and Molly Putnam.
Mires and Crockett came back and cruised through the second set, 6-0, but Aamold and Putnam broke serve to tie the third set 2-2 and never looked back, winning 6-2.
Both Mires and Crockett played quality tennis throughout the tournament, and Crockett looks to be a crucial piece to a Lady Red Devil tennis team that’s in the reloading process.
Another key piece to the future of Lady Devil tennis is Ceeara Staiger, who just missed out on going to State as a freshman. Staiger and Danielle Tiedje lost to Hardin’s second-seeded squad 6-4, 6-2, in Friday’s consolation semifinal match.
If Staiger and Tiedje stick together another year, they’ll surely contend to place at State.
Senior Nathan Sickler also qualified for the State Tournament, placing third in singles at the Eastern A Divisional Tournament on Friday.
The State Tournament will be held in Billings starting Thursday and will go through Saturday.
For more in-depth coverage and photos of the Eastern A Divisional Tournament, check out Thursday’s edition of The Ranger-Review and visit www.rangerreview.com.