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Perham tennis picks up a pair of sweeps

Perham's Ben Winkels smashes a forehand winner from the baseline in his match against Fergus Falls. Jason Groth/FOCUS1 / 3
Perham's Josh Peterson charges in on the shot against Fergus Falls. Jason Groth/FOCUS2 / 3
Perham's Aaron Solberg charges in and drops a shot just inside the line in his doubles match against Fergus Falls. Jason Groth/FOCUS3 / 3

A lot of coaches will talk about how a team responds to a big win. Will the team avoid the proverbial letdown the next time they compete? The Perham boys tennis team was coming off one of its biggest wins of the season when they welcomed Fergus Falls and Park Rapids to the Perham Tennis Courts on April 28.

The Yellowjackets disposed of Detroit Lakes, 4-3, earlier in the season and it was one of the biggest wins in the early part of the season. There was no letdown for the Yellowjackets as they earned a pair of 7-0 victories over Fergus Falls and Park Rapids Area.

Anthony Reese

“I was really worried going into this triangular as we didn’t get much hitting this week going into the match,” Perham head coach Jameson Miller said. “We told the team no excuses and to use their athleticism if a certain shot wasn’t working. Although, I thought we hit the ball pretty crisply for much of the day.”

Miller said it was nice picking up a pair of wins against teams like Fergus Falls and Park Rapids Area. He said Fergus Falls is a very young and solid team that will only get better going into sections.

“Park Rapids is also a very solid and well coached team,” Miller said. “Playing them really helped us improve as they are really aggressive and athletic. It made our kids hit a lot of tough shots.”

It was a strong day across the board for the Yellowjackets. At No. 1 singles, Carter Cresap dropped three total games on his way to a pair of straight set victories. He defeated Noah Tarczon, 6-1, 6-2, before defeating Park Rapids Area’s Zach Nelson, 6-0, 6-0.

Ben Winkels outlasted Isaac Ahlgren at No. 2 singles in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3. The match featured several long rallies that Winkels was on the winning end of. He followed it up with a straight set win over Park Rapids Area’s Ashton Clark, winning in straight sets, 6-0, 6-2.

Drew Birkeland was perfect on the day at No. 3 singles. He defeated Joe Connelly in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2, before defeated Park Rapids Area’s Peter Van Batvia, 6-0, 6-0.

Josh Peterson cruised at No. 4 singles, defeating Connor Ackerson, 6-1, 6-2. He closed the day with a straight set win over Park Rapids Area’s Thomas Williams, 6-0, 6-1.

It wasn’t just the singles players having a lot of success for the host Yellowjackets. The doubles teams joined in the fun, picking up a set of sweeps of their own.

Ryan Murphy and Gunnar Anderson defeated the battle tested Matt Monke and Tyler Hobbs in three sets, 7-6 (7-4), 3-6 and 16-14. They needed a third set tiebreaker against Nick Porozinski and Connor Shaw. They won the match, 2-6, 6-0, 14-12.

Gunnar Anderson

The senior laden team of Noah Christenson and Aaron Solberg earned a pair of wins, defeating Josh Kasper and Maveric Kalenburg in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2. They defeated Park Rapids Area’s Nolan Bouge and Evan Bouge in straight sets, 6-1, 6-3.

Perham’s Anthony Reese and Wyatt Guck picked up a pair of victories at No. 3 doubles as well, defeating Ian Richards and Blake Schuette, 6-0, 6-1, before defeating Park Rapids Area’s Jacob Gruis and Gunnar Larson in straight sets, 6-2, 7-6 (7-3).

Miller said the team still has some room to improve and they need to refocus for their lone scheduled match, which was against Minnewaska Area.

“I think our players like hitting and being around one another, while they are working hard to get better,” Miller said .

The Yellowjackets are 7-0 in dual meet competition on the season.

Jason Groth

 Groth is a Minnesota Newspaper Association award-winning Sports Editor of the Perham Focus and the Wadena Pioneer Journal. Groth worked in Grand Rapids as the Sports Director at KOZY/KMFY radio for two years and prior to that he was the Sports Editor/Writer for the Grand Rapids Herald-Review for seven years. 

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