PHS Boys Tennis: Netters host 8A Tourney
By John George
Mike Buer won his first round match in the Section 8A Singles Tournament held on his home courts in Perham last week. But the No. 6 seeded junior's season came to an end in the second round to the eventual runner-up.
Buer won his first round match against No. 11 Tyler Berglund of East Grand Forks, 6-2, 7-5 last Wednesday in Perham. That put him in Thursday's second round against No. 3 Beezer Skime of Thief River Falls. The TRF sophomore won, 6-0, 6-0, and advanced all the way to the singles finals before falling to Crookston's Jake Thompson.
Both Thompson and Skime will advance to the Class A State Tournament at the Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center in Minneapolis, June 2-5.
Perham's other singles player in the 8A tournament was Jordan Cresap. The freshman was seeded No. 12 and took on No. 5 Tanner Duncan of Detroit Lakes. His season ended in the first round with a 6-1, 6-0 loss.
Duncan lost his next round match to No. 4 Wade Johnston of Crookston. Johnston eventually finished fourth, losing to No. 2 Connor Hutton of TRF in the third place match.
In doubles, Perham's No. 9 seeded team of Joe Berns and Joe Ulrich lost to the No. 9 team of Jake Hartman and Chad Hanson of D.L., 6-1, 6-1. Hartman and Hanson's season came to an end in the next round in a 6-4, 6-1 loss to the team of Alex Spitsberg and Jake Greenwood of East Grand Forks.
Spitsberg and Greenwood went on to win the doubles championship, beating the No. 2 team from Crookston of Carter Denison and Nic Biermaier. Both the champs and runner-ups advance to State.
The Jackets other team, No. 13 Scott Eickschen and Dylan Ashcraft lost their first round match to No. 4 Parker Nessen and JD Robson of TRF, 6-1, 6-0. Robson and Neesen lost to the eventual champs in the next round and went on to finish in fourth place.
TRF wins team title
No. 1 seed Thief River Falls won their third straight Section 8AA team title Wednesday in Perham with a 6-1 win over East Grand Forks. They will take on the Section 1AA champ at 2 p.m. on June 2 at the Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center in Minneapolis. The Prowlers finished fourth last year at State.
TRF beat No. 4 Park Rapids in the semifinals, 7-0. EGF advanced to the finals with a 4-3 win over No. 3 Crookston. Perham's season ended with a 6-1 loss to Crookston on May 18. The Yellowjackets were 1-8 as a team this year and finished in fourth place at the Mid-State Conference Tournament.
Head coach Kyle Knutson feels he has a good foundation to build into the future.
"Kids are becoming more and more committed every year," he said. "Through fundraising, more ball machines will be purchased and half hour hitting sessions will be in place over the summer. More and more kids are getting out and hitting which will only improve the level of tennis that we play.
"Hosting the section tournament this year allowed some of our older kids to see the level of tennis needed to be competitive in our section," Knutson continued. "We are still not there yet but are closing the gap every year. The numbers of kids joining the program are growing, tennis is gaining popularity in the area again, kids are committing more and more time to improving so things are coming together."