High hopes for state

Minot High aiming for a top-five finish

Alex Eisen/MDN Minot High junior Mason Diehl competes in a match against Mandan earlier this season at Hammond Park in Minot.

Though the Minot High School boys tennis team couldn’t lock down the regional championship, the team has high hopes going into state.

In the regional team tournament, the Magi defeated Jamestown 4-1 to get to the championship game but fell to Legacy 3-2. During the championship match, the three singles players fell to Legacy while the doubles held their own against them. Legacy, according to MHS coach Scott DeLorme, has the top two players of the West region.

“We did pretty good (at regionals) and Legacy has a pretty good team,” DeLorme said. “We played really well and hopefully that will continue into this weekend.”

DeLorme said they had a strong team effort to pull out the win over Jamestown last weekend. It was a balanced approach as they were able to win 2 of the 3 singles and both doubles matches.

When facing Legacy, both doubles teams had strong, impressive plays according to DeLorme.

Individually at Regionals, Rory Taney finished seventh overall for the Magi with a nice win over Mandan’s number number one player in the state qualifying round according to the head coach. Rory entered the tournament unseeded and was able to place in the top 10.

Minot had one doubles team to qualify for state made up of Mason Diehl and Connor Templeton. The pair had a straight set win over Williston in the semis and put up a fight against the No. 1 seed Ronal Kumar and Mason Pitcher from Bismarck Century, but ultimately fell in three sets. All of these performances were just a point or two away from finishing a place or two higher, said DeLorme.

“A top-five finish would be a good weekend for us,” said DeLorme when asked what he hopes for during state. “The East is probably a little stronger than the West this year so we are up for a bit of a challenge.” If the Magi fall to Fargo South in the first round, he says the consolation bracket looks very winnable, which would land the Magi at fifth place.

The Magi start their first round against Fargo South, who they faced about a month ago with the same tournament style as state. They fell to Fargo South 3-2 on Sept. 8 at FSHS.

“They have the best singles player in the state,” DeLorme said. “Looking on paper there are three matches we can win and in this tournament style that’s all you need.” Though it looks like there are three matches the Magi will be heavily favored in, DeLorme said this is going to be a competitive, close round.

“Fargo South is a tough first round match, but I definitely think we can make it out on top with the way we’ve been playing,” said Magi senior Charlie Wentz.

Last month Wentz fell to Fargo South’s Max Olson, but the team has developed and improved since then.

“We’ve gotten more aggressive and we’ve really worked on being in control of scoring,” DeLorme said. “The doubles teams have been doing a good job getting both players to the net.”

For singles on Friday, the Magi have players Taney, seeded seventh in the West, and Wentz, seeded fourth, competing. DeLorme said Wentz is their strongest athlete and starts with a winnable first round match. His prediction is that Wentz can achieve a top five finish. Wentz faces West Fargo Sheyenne’s Cameron Cook, who is seeded fifth in the East, in the first round.

For Doubles, the pair of Templeton and Diehl were so close to winning the Region Championship that DeLorme has no doubt they are the team that can get in there and make it to Semis; they just have to play well. Templeton/Diehl are seeded second in the West and compete against East seventh-seed Benjamin Laber and Michael Hallquist of Fargo North.

The Magi begin their team portion of state at 10 a.m. today. They will play at the Wynne Courts in Grand Forks.

The individual rounds begin Friday at the Choice Health & Fitness Center in Grand Forks.