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Brad E. Schlossman / Forum News Service , Published May 24 2013

Red River tops West Fargo for ND state girls tennis team title

GRAND FORKS – Choice Health and Fitness hosted a state championship for the first time ever Friday morning.

The results weren’t any different than the previous 11, though.

Grand Forks Red River is once again the North Dakota girls state tennis champion. The Roughriders defeated West Fargo 5-0 in the finals to earn their 12th straight team title.

“It’s something we work for all year long,” said Red River coach Greg LaDouceur, whose team has won 164 consecutive duals dating back to 2001. “I want to give the girls all the credit. They came back here and showed up this morning, and they fought real hard. West Fargo gave us a great match. Kudos to that team, but fortunately for us, we came out on top.

“Our players rose to the challenge, fought back, and it was a nice 5-0 victory for our team.”

Red River finished the season losing just one match in the team setting – a No. 2 doubles match in the state semifinals.

In the finals, the Roughriders won straight-set matches at No. 2 singles, No. 3 singles and No. 1 doubles to clinch the championship. Then, Mimi Yunker won a three-set match at No. 1 singles and the No. 2 doubles team of Paige Relling and Ellen Larsen outlasted West Fargo’s Mariah Stein and Jamie Freden in three sets to finish off the 5-0 win.

“It’s a great accomplishment,” LaDouceur said. “Any time you can win a championship, it’s great. When you can keep adding on and get that 12th one, it’s very special to the Red River tennis program.”

West Fargo earned its first trip to the state finals with back-to-back dramatic wins on Thursday afternoon. The Packers were tied 2-2 in both their quarterfinal and semifinal duals, but managed to pull out third-set victories in the decisive match to reach the finals.

But the Packers were overmatched by a Roughriders squad that’s strong at the top of the lineup.

“Even before the school year started, we were talking about this year, knowing it would be pretty tough,” Red River senior doubles player Lalangi Marasinghe said. “To finally finish it, it’s great.”

Marasinghe is the lone senior on the Roughriders.

“It’s kind of bittersweet,” she said. “I’m glad that we could win, but I’m sad that I’ll be leaving next year. But I’m leaving it in good hands.”

Team tournament

Championship

GF Red River 5, West Fargo 0

Singles

1. Mimi Yunker, RR, over Sammie Smith 6-2, 4-6, 6-2; 2. Cindy Lim, RR, over Brooke Christensen 6-0, 6-2; 3. Maddie Anderson, RR, over Karyn Binde 6-0, 6-2

Doubles

1. Lalangi Marasinghe-Alexis Caoili, RR, over Kaylee Stock-Katie Baasch 6-2, 6-4; 2. Paige Relling-Ellen Larsen, RR, over Mariah Stein-Jamie Freden 6-1, 1-6, 7-5

Third place

Bismarck-St. Mary’s 4, Minot 1

Singles

1. Caitlin Bakke, BSM, over Ban Dodin 6-1, 6-1; 2. Alicia Beck, BSM, over Megan Shervin 6-3, 7-5; 3. Mary Roller, BSM, over Kendra Collins 6-2, 6-0

Doubles

1. Jenna Coggins-Latasha Klein, M, over Erin Benz-Kathryn Malaktaris 6-4, 4-6, 7-5; 2. Mariya Kruman-Tori Brucker, BSM, over Katie Wilson-Cally Sessions 4-6, 6-4, 6-2

Fifth place

Bismarck 3, Bismarck Century 2

Singles

1. Tyne Oberlander, BHS, over Courtney Brackin 6-4, 6-2; 2. Alyssa Wolf, BC, over Rachel Schumaier 6-1, 6-2; 3. Lauryn Andre, BHS, over Jamie Stoppler 6-4, 6-3

Doubles

1. Rachel Dodd-Jenna Andre, BHS, over Paige Fettig-Nora Erickson 3-6, 6-4, 6-2; 2. Anne Dickson-Morgan Grinsteiner, BC, over Kayla Steffes-Katie Well 6-2, 6-4

Schlossman writes for the Grand Forks Herald