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Tom Mix, Published May 24 2012

Fargo South's Moe thrust into spotlight after East Region tennis title

Fargo - Last Saturday, Fargo South’s Karen Moe accomplished a sports feat that hadn’t been done in 21 years.

The junior Bruins tennis standout upset two-time defending North Dakota East Region girls singles champion Mimi Yunker of Grand Forks Red River 6-3, 6-3 to become the first non-Grand Forks player to win a region singles title since 1991. It was also the first year a non-Red River player had won the title since 2000.

“It was huge,” Moe said. “I have never beaten Mimi before, and I really wasn’t expecting to either. After the first set, it really sunk in and I was like, ‘OK, I have been working really hard and it is showing off finally.’ ”

“My work paid off and I just kept going. I stayed strong and I ended up with a win.”

Moe is the No. 1-seeded player from the East and plays No. 8 West seed Megan Sherven of Minot in the opening round of the individual singles competition during North Dakota state tournament at 1:30 p.m. today at Elephant Park.

Yunker edged Moe in last year’s state singles semifinals 6-1, 6-4. The win alone was exciting enough, but the matter of 21 years passing without a non-Grand Forks player winning the region singles crown gave the victory a little more clout.

“That just made the win so much better,” Moe said. “It was a little more exciting and that just topped it off. My goal was just to make it to the final match.”

“I just went in there and had a ton of fun. There was no pressure for me at all.”

To give Moe’s performance some perspective, it was this time 21 years ago when the Minnesota Twins were about a week away from a 15-game winning streak that propelled them to a World Series title later in the year. In the spring of 1991, the Minnesota North Stars locked up with Pittsburgh in the Stanley Cup finals, which the Penguins won in six games.

“Any match that Karen goes into, I give her a chance whether it is playing Mimi or Sammy (Anderson) of Red River,” Fargo South tennis coach Jason Thiner said. “Last year she played Sammy really tough in the East Region semifinals and in the dual against Red River last year she played Mimi really tough.”

Moe has been the Bruins’ No. 1 singles player for three seasons and has only dropped three singles matches this season, losing to Anderson, Bismarck St. Mary’s Caitlin Bakke and Bismarck Century’s Sarah Janes.

Bakke and Janes are the first and second seeds, respectively, from the West. Anderson is pairing with her sister Maddie and playing doubles.

Janes defeated Moe 7-5, 6-1 in last year’s third-place match at state. Moe said she’s like to improve on her fourth-place finish.

“Karen is not the type of player who is going to say, ‘OK, I won East Region, I have accomplished what I wanted to,’” Thiner said. “She still has high goals of finishing at least third in the state.”

She definitely has the momentum, but is not getting too far ahead of herself.

“I’m really excited,” Moe said. “I’m more confident, but I have to remember that you play for a reason. I just have to take each match as it comes. I’m just thinking about the first match right now. I’m not even thinking about the championship.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562

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