Compiled by Heath Hotzler and Kerry Collins, Published August 16 2009
High school metro tennis capsulesFargo North boys
E Coach: Greg Unruh (14th year)
E 2008 record: 6-6
E Who’s gone: Alex Dufault (No. 1 singles); Bryce Johnson (No. 1 doubles); Jake Labernik (No. 1 doubles)
E Who’s back: Sawyer Dahl, So.; David Russell, Jr.; Andy Ficek, Fr.
E Fast facts: The Spartans finished fourth in the Eastern Dakota Conference regular-season standings. The team did not advance to the state tournament. … North’s top three (Dahl, Russell, Ficek) enter the season locked in competition for the No. 1-3 spots, Unruh said. “We’ve got good athletes,” Unruh said. “… If we can get some of those good athletes playing good tennis by the end of the season, we feel like we’ll be all right.” … The Spartans should be competitive in singles competition, Unruh said. The team could surprise in doubles by the end of the year. … Graduated Labernik and Johnson were the only Spartan individuals to advance to state last season. … Russell won the 16-under singles title at the Red River Open this summer in Fargo. … Unruh said Grand Forks Red River will once again be the team to beat. “We feel like we’ve been rebuilding,” Unruh said. “And we feel like we’re ready to take that next step.”
Fargo Shanley boys
E Coach: Andrew Law (first year)
E 2008 record: 6-3
E Who’s gone: Rodrigo Otero; Graham Carson
E Who’s back: Peter Frei, Sr.; Tom Schwandt, Sr.; Peter O’Donnell, Sr.; Jacob Olsgaard, Sr.
E Fast facts: The Deacons finished third in the Eastern Dakota Conference and fifth at state last year. … Otero captured fifth place in the state individual singles tournament. … Schwandt and Frei advanced to state as a doubles tandem. … Frei should be the team’s top singles player this year. He was named the team’s captain. … Law coached the Shanley girls team a year ago. He is a 2002 Fargo South graduate. “They definitely bring a high level of play,” Law said. “I’m excited to coach the team. I’m excited to see how they do.”
Fargo South boys
E Coach: Vic Youngs (22nd year)
E 2008 record: 12-3
E Who’s gone: Ryan McGuigan (No. 2, state runner up singles); Luke Brodeur; Adam Gustad Adam and Luke state runner up doubles
E Who’s back: Parker Lawley, Jr. (No. 1 singles); Eric Moe, Jr.; Evan Bong, Sr.; Erik Diedrich, Sr.; Justin Beach, So.
E Fast facts: Brodeur and Gustad finished second in the state individual doubles tournament last year. … Lawley was fourth at state in singles competition. He participated in national Zonals competition in Waco, Texas, against some of the top players in the country in his age group, Youngs said. “Parker is the guy to beat on our team,” Youngs said. “After that, we have a bunch of guys who are really close.” … The Bruins finished second as a team at state last season. … Youngs said 10 juniors will see varsity action this year. … Moe is returning from a severe back problem that limited his progress last year, Youngs said. … “I think it’s definitely going to be a great year,” Youngs said. “This is the last one with the South and Davies kids as a varsity so we want to make the most of it.”
West Fargo boys
E Coach: Chad Anderson (10th year)
E 2008 record: 4-5
E Who’s gone: Brian Olson; Shaun Sinner; Zach Smith
E Who’s back: Ben Ballweber, Jr.; Kevin Roberts, Jr.; Kyle Roberts, Jr.; Riley Koehnen, Jr.; Blake Nelson, Fr.
E Fast facts: Anderson said his team will be in re-building mode this season because of the graduation of three solid seniors. “It was the first time we’ve ever had three seniors in our top four players,” Anderson said. … The Packers will have a lot of depth this year, Anderson said. … The team will look to Ben Ballweber to provide leadership, Anderson said. Ballweber played No. 1 singles for the Packers last season. … Seventh-grader Brady Ballweber could be a surprise in the Eastern Dakota Conference this year. “I think he’s going to make a big difference,” Anderson said. … “This year will probably be the most intense year, because we have so many who haven’t really proven themselves,” Anderson said. “They are really going after each other. Because of this intense rivalry, it’s going to make a difference with our level of play.”
E Coach: Scott Matheson (13th year)
E 2008 record: 7-7
E Who’s gone: Stephanie Weaver. Tiffany Motis. Katie Schneider.
E Who’s back: Emman Connell, Sr. Cecelia Bonitto, Sr. Molly Hagen, Sr. Kirsten Hoaby, Sr. Samantha Brewer, Sr. Layne Myer, Jr. Rachel Phelps, Jr. Lizzy Ross, Jr. Brianna Turman, Jr. Samantha Nelson, Jr.
E Fast facts: Moorhead loses its top singles player from a year ago, but last year’s biggest problem was injuries. If the Spuds can stay healthy, Matheson thinks they can be competitive. “This year we will rely on depth and senior leadership,” Matheson said. “We showed steady improvement last year, despite playing through a number of key injuries to starters, particularly late in the season.” This year’s team is senior heavy, which should pay off down the stretch. But Bemidji and Alexandria are still the teams to beat in the section. “With hard work and effort, come tournament time, this year’s team may surprise,” Matheson said.