Smith qualifies for state tournament

Julia Smith kept the streak going for the Park Rapids girls tennis team. With Smith's runner-up finish in singles at the Section 8A tournament at Courts Plus in Fargo Saturday, Park Rapids will be represented at the state Class A tournament for t...

     Julia Smith kept the streak going for the Park Rapids girls tennis team.

     With Smith’s runner-up finish in singles at the Section 8A tournament at Courts Plus in Fargo Saturday, Park Rapids will be represented at the state Class A tournament for the seventh year in a row.

     The Park Rapids sophomore entered the section tournament as the No. 3 seed and advanced to Saturday’s semifinals with a 6-0, 6-1 win over No. 14 Jaeden Lizakowski of Crookston and a 6-0, 6-0 win over No. 6 Maddy Hinojos of Wadena-Deer Creek during Friday’s first round.

     In the semifinals, Smith defeated No. 2 Haley Wiebolt of Pequot Lakes 6-4, 6-2 to advance to the championship match. Wiebolt had defeated Smith twice during the regular season.

     Staples-Motley’s Izabella Edin, the No. 1 seed, captured the section title with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Smith, who was the section runner-up last season.


     Smith will enter her second state tournament with a 22-2 record in singles. The state tournament begins Oct. 23 at the Reed-Sweatt Tennis Center in Minneapolis.

     “I knew it would be hard for Julia to return to state because of Wiebolt and Edin. She played both of them well during the regular season, but just couldn’t get past them,” said Park Rapids head coach Brianne Morris. “I thought if she played her game, she could make it. She played well all weekend.”

     Hope Johnson entered the section tournament as the No. 4 seed in singles and placed fourth. Johnson opened with a 6-1, 6-1 win over No. 13 Emily Strezishar of East Grand Forks and a 6-0, 6-0 win over No. 5 Josie Beachy of Perham. Johnson closed out section play with a 6-0, 6-0 loss to Edin and a 6-0, 6-0 loss to Wiebolt.

     Park Rapids’ two doubles teams were eliminated during Friday’s first rounds.

     Lindsey Girtz and Sarena Kinkel, the No. 5 seed, opened with a 6-2, 6-2 win over No. 12 Erin Johnson and Sarah Moen of Wadena-Deer Creek before being eliminated with a 6-1, 6-4 loss to No. 4 Carly Fyle and Sydney Holt of Pequot Lakes in the quarterfinals.

     Morgan Knott and Mariena Dearstyne, the No. 11 seed, were eliminated with a 6-4, 6-2 loss to No. 6 Morgan Bicker and Sarina Goos of Roseau.

     East Grand Forks’ Chessa Jones and Emma Dietrich, the No. 2 seed, defeated Fyle and Holt 6-7 (8-10), 7-5, 6-3 in the title match. Staples-Motley’s Nikki Edin and Grace Wolhowe, the No. 3 seed, defeated Fyle and Holt 3-6, 6-0, 6-0 in a true-second match to advance to state.




First round

Julia Pearson, Perham, over Maddy Keskitalo, New York Mills, 6-0, 6-4; Isabella Edin, Staples-Motley, over Pearson. 6-1, 6-0; Cynthia Loven, East Grand Forks, over Alyssa Fee, Crookston, 6-3, 6-3; Josie Beachy, Perham, over Whitney Eickhoff, Wadena-Deer Creek, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1; Hope Johnson, Park Rapids, over Emily Strezishar, East Grand Forks, 6-1, 6-1; Julia Smith, Park Rapids, over Jaeden Lizakowski, Crookston, 6-0, 6-1; Maddy Hinojos, Wadena-Deer Creek, over Madison Galligan, Pequot Lakes, 6-2, 6-4; Sarah Koopman, Staples-Motley, over Lauren Johnson, Roseau, 6-1, 6-1; Jodi Ostroski, Roseau, over Jewelle Boe, New York Mills, 6-0, 6-0; Hailey Wiebolt, Pequot Lakes, over Ostroski 6-1, 6-1.



Edin over Loven 6-0, 6-0; Johnson over Beachy 6-0, 6-0; Smith over Hinojos 6-0, 6-0; Wiebolt over Koopman 6-2, 6-1.




Edin over Johnson 6-0, 6-0; Smith over Wiebolt 6-4, 6-2.



Edin over Smith 6-2, 6-2 (title); Wiebolt over Johnson 6-0, 6-0 (third).



First round

Robyn Harper/Jordin Roberts, New York Mills, over Danielle Graham/Savanna Olson, Perham, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3; Leah Trostad/Ally Tiedemann, Crookston, over Harper/Roberts 6-0, 6-0; Marrisa Jevne/Juli Miller, Roseau, over Lauren Bengtson/Alex Nelson, Pequot Lakes, 4-7, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3; Sarena Kinkel/Lindsey Girtz, Park Rapids, over Erin Johnson/Sarah Moen, Wadena-Deer Creek, 6-2, 6-2; Carly Fyle/Sydney Holt, Pequot Lakes, over Bethany VanEps/Kayla Cremers, East Grand Forks, 6-0, 6-0; Nikki Edin/Grace Wolhowe, Staples-Motley, over Elise Kallerig/Lindy Jones, Wadena-Deer Creek, 6-0, 6-0; Morgan Bicker/Sarina Goos, Roseau, over Morgan Knott/Mariena Dearstyne, Park Rapids, 6-4, 6-2; Tori Demarais/Amy Follette, Crookston, over Laruen Nelson/Lexi Johnson, Staples-Motley, 6-3, 6-3; Madison Olson/Madison Berry, Perham, over Kori Salo/Mikaila Honer, New York Mills, 6-0, 6-1; Chessa Jones/Emma Dietrich, East Grand Forks, over Olson/Berry 6-0, 6-0.




Trostad/Tiedemann over Jevne/Miller 6-0, 6-1; Fyle/Holt over Kinkel/Girtz 6-1, 6-4; Edi/Wolhowe over Bicker/Goos 6-1, 6-1; Jones/Dietrich over Demarais/Follette 6-0, 6-3.



Fyle/Holt over Trostad/Tiedemann 6-4, 6-2; Jones/Dietrich over Edin/Wolhowe 6-2, 5-7, 6-1.




Jones/Dietrich over Fyle/Holt 6-7 (8-10), 7-5, 6-3 (title); Edin/Wolhowe over Trostad/Tiedemann 6-3, 6-0 (third); Edin/Wolhowe over Fyle/Holt 3-6, 6-0, 6-0 (true second).


Cardinals deny Panthers’ state trip

     The Panthers’ quest to qualify for state as a team for the first time in school history fell one win short as Staples-Motley repeated as section champs with a 6-1 victory in Friday’s championship match.

     Park Rapids entered as the No. 3 seed and opened section play with a 6-1 win over No. 6 East Grand Forks and a 5-2 win over No. 2 Pequot Lakes on Thursday. In the other quarterfinals, No. 1 Staples-Motley defeated No. 8 Perham 6-1 and No. 5 Roseau defeated No. 4 Crookston 4-3. Staples-Motley defeated Roseau 6-1 to advance to the finals.

     Against EGF, Smith, Johnson and Tori Hilmanowski posted straight-set wins in singles while the Kinkel/Girtz, Knott/Dearstyne and Drew Hilmanowski/Haley MacPherson doubles teams combined to drop only nine games.

     In the semifinals, the Panthers avenged two losses to Pequot Lakes during the regular season to advance to the title match.

     The Panthers swept the doubles matches as Girtz and Kinkel prevailed in straight sets at No. 1 doubles, Knott and Dearstyne prevailed in two closes sets at No. 2 doubles, and Hilmanowski and MacPherson prevailed in straight sets at No. 3 doubles.


     Smith won in straight sets at No. 1 singles and Johnson prevailed in a tiebreaker at No. 2 singles to complete the win.

     Pequot Lakes, which was rated No. 9 in the latest state Class A poll, defeated the Panthers 4-3 and 6-1 during the regular season. The Patriots ended the season with an 18-3 record.

     “It was an amazing day. The girls came out and played well against EGF. The win against Pequot was so amazing because we had just lost to them 6-1 in Pequot. We were all so amazed that we won; not because we didn’t believe we could, but because we actually did,” said Morris. “The girls knew they were the underdogs and that they had nothing to lose. I just told them to go out and play their game and to relax and have fun. They worked hard in the weight room and in practice all year so that they would be ready for sections. We have also been talking all year about how tennis is such a mental sport and that we could beat Pequot if we played our game and mentally stayed tough. They all played amazing and went on the court believing that they could win. I was ecstatic with their play.”

     In the finals, Natalie Kinkel’s straight-set win at No. 3 singles provided the only victory for the Panthers. Tori Hilmanowski lost in a third-set tiebreaker at No. 4 singles, Knott and Dearstyne lost in three sets at No. 2 doubles, Girtz and Kinkel lost in a close match at No. 1 doubles, and Drew Hilmanowski and MacPherson lost in a close match at No. 3 doubles as the Panthers ended the season with a 16-7 record.

     The Cardinals, who are rated No. 7 in the latest state Class A poll, will compete at the state tournament for the 10th consecutive season.

     “We were extremely happy to make it to the finals, especially after losing some very talented seniors from last year,” said Morris. “We definitely passed our expectations. The girls wanted to win so badly and they played well, but they just couldn’t get past a tough Staples team. The only disappointment is that they wanted to make history and be the first Park Rapids girls tennis team to make it to the state meet. It was fun to be in the title match again. I was proud and happy with the way they played and represented Park Rapids.”


Park Rapids 6, East Grand Forks 1

No. 1 singles: Julia Smith, PR, over Chessa Jones 6-1, 6-1.

No. 2 singles: Hope Johnson, PR, over Emma Dietrich 7-5, 6-3.

No. 3 singles: Cynthia Loven, EGF, over Natalie Kinkel 6-3, 7-6 (7-3).

No. 4 singles: Tori Hilmanowski, PR, over Emily Strezishar 6-4, 6-2.

No. 1 doubles: Lindsey Girtz/Sarena Kinkel, PR, over Bethany VanEps/Mackenzie Burris 6-1, 6-1.

No. 2 doubles: Morgan Knott/Mariena Dearstyne, PR, over Kayla Cremers/Jenna Dietrich 6-2, 6-1.

No. 3 doubles: Drew Hilmanowski/Haley MacPherson, PR, over Geena Boyum/Kayla Partlow 6-2, 6-2.


Park Rapids 5, Pequot Lakes 2

No. 1 singles: Julia Smith, PR, over Haley Wiebolt 6-4, 7-5.

No. 2 singles: Hope Johnson, PR, over Sydney Holt 6-3, 2-6, 10-3.

No. 3 singles: Carly Fyle, PL, over Natalie Kinkel 6-2, 6-4.

No. 4 singles: Madison Galligan, PL, over Tori Hilmanowski 6-0, 6-0.

No. 1 doubles: Lindsey Girtz/Sarena Kinkel, PR, over Lauren Bengtson/Alex Nelson 6-2, 6-0.

No. 2 doubles: Morgan Knott/Mariena Dearstyne, PR, over Maggie Heggerston/Mallory Goerges 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-5).

No. 3 doubles: Drew Hilmanowski/Haley MacPherson, PR, over Cassidi Herrlich/Kayla Geike 6-2, 6-2.


Staples-Motley 6, Park Rapids 1

No. 1 singles: Izabella Edin, SM, over Julia Smith 6-2, 6-1.

No. 2 singles: Grace Wolhowe, SM, over Hope Johnson 6-1, 6-2.

No. 3 singles: Natalie Kinkel, PR, over Sarah Koopman 6-2, 6-1.

No. 4 singles: Kelsie Weite, SM, over Tori Hilmanowski 6-4, 2-6, 10-8.

No. 1 doubles: Nikki Edin/Lauren Nelson, SM, over Sarena Kinkel/Lindsey Girtz 7-6 (7-5), 6-3.

No. 2 doubles: Lexi Johnson/Claire Wolhowe, SM, over Morgan Knott/Mariena Dearstyne 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-0.

No. 3 doubles: Ashley Smith/Katie Benson, SM, over Drew Hilmanowski/Haley MacPherson 7-6 (13-11), 6-3.

1982 Dawson-Boyd High School graduate
1987 Moorhead State University graduate
Sports reporter for Park Rapids Enterprise since 1987
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