DCHS tennis sends nine to state tourney
By Anthony Varriano
Ranger-Review Staff Writer
The Dawson County High School tennis teams may have finished second to Billings Central at Divisionals in Hardin last weekend, but three girls and six boys qualified for the State A Tournament.
Dawson’s top doubles teams performed as expected, with junior Ceeara Staiger and senior Marenah Crockett going back to State with a first-place finish at Divisionals. They won the Divisional Championship over Billings Central’s Molly Putnam and Blayne Meyer 6-3, 2-6, 6-3. Staiger and Crockett were second at state last season.
“Dillon’s Jennifer Womack and Nicole Thompson represent the number one seed in the southwest region,” DCHS head coach Rich Lindgren said of Staiger and Crockett’s State competition. “Katie Fyall and Annie Peterson of Whitefish are number one seeds out of the northwest, and Lindsay Lane and Sophia Badten of Livingston, champions of the southwest, all look to be in the hunt for a title.”
Devils fans nearly got an all-Devils Divisional final, as Hannah Bogar and Katrielle Carney nearly upset Putnam in Meyer in the semifinal, forcing a third set after dropping the first. They fell to the eventual third-place finishers Kenna Adolph and Hailey Keller of Billings Central.
Alyssa Kessel was the third-place finisher on the singles side. She forced a third set from Hardin’s Madison Chavez in a great semifinal match, 5-7, 6-4, 6-3. She won the consolation match in straight sets over Brittney Schaff, also of Hardin. Barclay Fagg, the defending State champion, had no problem in the final, dropping just one game to take the championship.
“Emily Gettz out of Columbia Falls is a returnee from last year’s State Tournament, and Livingston’s number one seed Emilee Coleman from the Southwest Division will also be a factor in girls’ singles,” Lindgren explained. “The number one seed from the Northwest is Marlee Congdon of Polson.”
Seniors Jarod Asche and Bret Vester are also headed back to state. They finished in second place and forced a third set in a tight championship match against transfer student Simon Marshall and Joey Nichols of Billings Central, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.
Dawson’s number two doubles team also returns to state, as senior Josh Hoffer and junior Jory Opp won the consolation match handily. They also forced Marshall and Nichols to play three sets, falling 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
“Jerod Boles and Jake Sedahl from Havre are the number one from the north, and Glendive’s teams should also be in the hunt,” Lindgren said.
Joining the two doubles teams at state will be juniors Matthis Rivard and Michael Hopfauf, who finished second and third in singles, respectively.
Rivard recovered from a first-set loss to Caleb Barndt of Billings Central to advance to the championship against two-time State Champion doubles player Harrison Fagg, also of Billings Central. He fell in straight sets, but took four games from the top singles player from the Eastern A.
Hopfauf had to work even harder than his teammate to beat Barndt. After dropping a first-set tiebreaker 10-8, Hopfauf won the next two sets in the marathon consolation match 6-4, 7-5.
“Jeff Miller, Havre’s state singles champion two years ago will be a favorite, as will Harrison Fagg, moving from two-time State Champion in doubles to singles,” Lindgren explained. “Max Smyley of Whitefish also enters the tournament as the number one in the west.”
Lindgren said the team hopes to improve on its fourth-place finish last year, and certainly has the pieces necessary to make a run at State, especially with the boys qualifying two doubles teams and two singles players.
The Class A State Tournament matches will be played in Bozeman and Livingston starting Thursday.
Reach Anthony Varriano at firstname.lastname@example.org.