Doubles team earns section title, state bid
Julia Renner and Christina Smith lived up to their No. 1 seed to earn a trip to the state Class A girls tennis tournament.
The Park Rapids juniors used four straight-set wins to capture the Section 8A doubles title at the Choice Health and Fitness Club in Grand Forks Saturday.
Renner and Smith opened with a 6-0, 6-0 win over No. 16 Hannah Jacobson and Molly Kraemer of Wadena-Deer Creek before eliminating Park Rapids' Lindsey Girtz and Sarena Kinkel, the No. 9 seed, 6-0, 6-0 in the quarterfinals.
After defeating Roseau's Bethany Tangen and Bailey Janzen 6-1, 7-6 (7-5) in the semifinals, Renner and Smith defeated Crookston's Leah Trostad and Ally Tiedemann 6-3, 6-1 in the championship match. Tangen and Janzen entered the section tournament as the No. 5 seed while Trostad and Tiedemann were the No. 11 seed.
Renner (who will be making her first trip to state) and Smith (who will be making her third trip to state) will enter the first round of the state Class A tournament Oct. 25 at the Reed-Sweatt Tennis Center in Minneapolis with a 15-0 record as doubles partners.
"They hadn't lost a match all year and they went in with a lot of confidence," said Park Rapids head coach Brianne Morris. "I knew if they played well that they would be the section champs. There wasn't a better doubles team there."
The other three Park Rapids entrants didn't advance past the quarterfinals.
Kinkel and Girtz defeated Roseau's Ciscely Nelson and Grace Olson 6-1, 7-5 in the first round before falling to Renner and Smith in the quarterfinals.
In singles play, Julia Smith was the No. 7 seed and opened with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Roseau's Marissa Jevne before falling to Staples-Motley's Mikayla Wing 6-2, 6-2 in the quarterfinals. Charity Ridlon, the No. 12 seed, dropped a 6-3, 6-1 decision to Wadena-Deer Creek's Macy Hartman in the first round.
East Grand Forks' Jessamy Jones defeated Wing 6-0, 6-0 in the title match in a battle of the top seeds in the tournament.
No. 17 Victoria Selander, New York Mills, over No. 16 Taylor McMillan, Roseau, 6-4, 7-6 (8-6); No. 15 Abby Salo, New York Mills, over No. 18 Julia Pearson, Perham, 6-3, 6-0.
No. 1 Jessamy Jones, East Grand Forks, over Selander 6-0, 6-0; No. 8 Grace Wolhowe, Staples-Motley, over No. 9 Amber Trostad, Crookston, 7-5, 7-5; No. 5 Macy Hartman, Wadena-Deer Creek, over No. 12 Charity Ridlon, Park Rapids, 6-3, 6-1; No. 4 Haley Wiebolt, Pequot Lakes, over No. 13 Maggie Rennick, Perham, 6-0, 6-0; No. 3 Kylie Simmons, Crookston, over No. 14 Jaden Lindner, Pequot Lakes, 6-1, 6-0; No. 6 Chessa Jones, East Grand Forks, over No. 11 Paige Hartman, Wadena-Deer Creek, 6-3, 6-3; No. 7 Julia Smith, Park Rapids, over No. 10 Marissa Jevne, Roseau, 6-0, 6-1; No. 2 Mikayla Wing, Staples-Motley, over Salo 6-0, 6-0.
J. Jones over Wolhowe 6-0, 6-0; M. Hartman over Wiebolt 6-4, 6-2; Simmons over C. Jones 6-1, 6-3; Wing over Smith 6-2, 6-2.
J. Jones over M. Hartman 6-0, 6-0; Wing over Simmons 6-1, 6-3.
J. Jones over Wing 6-0, 6-0 (title); M. Hartman over Simmons 6-2, 6-4 (third); Wing over M. Hartman 6-2, 6-2 (true second).
No. 16 Hannah Jacobson/Molly Kraemer, Wadena-Deer Creek, over No. 17 Emily Blomberg/Jordan Roberts, New York Mills, 3-6, 7-5, 7-5; No. 15 Katie Howey/Betsey Person, Perham, over No. 18 Kori Salo/Jewelle Boe, New York Mills, 6-2, 6-2.
No. 1 Julia Renner/Christina Smith, Park Rapids, over Jacobson/Kraemer 6-0, 6-0; No. 9 Sarena Kinkel/Lindsey Girtz, Park Rapids, over No. 8 Ciscely Nelson/Grace Olson, Roseau, 6-1, 7-5; No. 5 Bethany Tangen/Bailey Janzen, Roseau, over No. 12 Hannah Brenk/Paige Biegler, Perham, 6-1, 6-0; No. 4 Lilli Dennison/Liz Awender, Crookston, over No. 13 Ashley Carlson/Sara Najjar, Wadena-Deer Creek, 6-0, 6-0; No. 3 Eleanor Heggerston/Carly Fyle, Pequot Lakes, over No. 14 Erika Pritchett/Ashley Normandin, East Grand Forks, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3; No. 11 Leah Trostad/Ally Tiedemann, Crookston, over No. 6 Brooke Wolhowe/Annie Kautto, Staples-Motley, 7-6 (7-5), 7-5; No. 7 Eleanor Erholtz/Lauren Bengston, Pequot Lakes, over No. 10 Kelli Radi/Katie Berggren, East Grand Forks, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-4; No. 2 Maggie O'Keefe/Kelsey Zetah, Staples-Motley, over Howey/Person 6-0, 6-0.
Renner/Smith over Kinkel/Girtz 6-0, 6-0; Tangen/Janzen over Dennison/Awender 6-3, 6-2; Trostad/Tiedemann over Heggerston/Fyle 7-5, 6-3; O'Keefe/Zetah over Erholtz/Bengston 6-2, 6-3.
Renner/Smith over Tangen/Janzen 6-1, 7-6 (7-5); Trostad/Tiedemann over O'Keefe/Zetah 6-1, 6-3.
Renner/Smith over Trostad/Tiedemann 6-3, 6-1 (title); O'Keefe/Zetah over Tangen/Janzen 6-3, 6-3 (third).
Cardinals oust Panthers
The Panthers' attempt to qualify for state as a team was denied with a 4-3 loss to Staples-Motley in a section semifinal match Friday at Grand Forks.
Staples-Motley, the No. 1 seed, swept the three doubles matches and prevailed at No. 1 singles to advance to the section finals.
Renner, Julia Smith and Ridlon posted straight-set wins in singles to account for the Panthers' three wins.
Park Rapids, the No. 4 seed, edged the Cardinals 4-3 during the regular season. The Panthers ended the year with a 13-6 record in dual meets.
The Cardinals, who are rated No. 4 in the latest state Class A poll, defeated No. 3 Crookston 4-3 to win the section title and advance to the state tournament for the eighth year in a row. Crookston eliminated No. 2 Pequot Lakes 4-3 in Friday's other semifinal match.
Staples-Motley 4, Park Rapids 3
No. 1 singles: Mikayla Wing, SM, over Christina Smith 7-5, 6-3.
No. 2 singles: Julia Renner, PR, over Grace Wolhowe 6-2, 6-1.
No. 3 singles: Julia Smith, PR, over Emily Israelson 6-0, 6-2.
No. 4 singles: Charity Ridlon, PR, over Sarah Koopman 6-4, 6-4.
No. 1 doubles: Maggie O'Keefe/Kelsey Zetah, SM, over Hope Johnson/Sarena Kinkel 6-1, 6-3.
No. 2 doubles: Annie Kautto/Brooke Wolhowe, SM, over Heidi Schaum/Lindsey Girtz 3-6, 7-5, 6-1.
No. 3 doubles: Linsey Johnson/Nikki Edin, SM, over Jeni Simpson/Jill Simpson 6-2, 6-1.