Packers excel at summer tennis
Area tennis players weren't representing the Packers in a recent Aberdeen, S.D. tournament, but their efforts will certainly benefit the Packers in the future.
Several West Fargo tennis players competed at the CC Lee Tournament in Aberdeen and brought trophies home with them.
Three players captured singles championships, including Sammie Smith (14 and under), Megan Broton (16 and under) and Beth Anderson (18 and under). Cassie Smith was the 16 and under runner-up.
Cassie teamed with Broton to become the 16 and under doubles runners-up, while Anderson teamed with Kayla Inman, of Pierre, S.D., to earn second in 18 and under girls doubles.
Coach Chad Anderson, also the Packer boys and girls tennis coach, was especially impressed with his players' success, saying the last time they did this well during the summer it definitely carried over to the high school season.
"Usually in tournaments you have people from all over South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota and so forth," he said. "You have so many kids from so many different locations that you don't see that much success from one town. It's a big deal for us to have so many people do as well as they did."
And the tennis hasn't stopped there. Chad Anderson has multiple programs in place this summer - all part of an effort to help West Fargo tennis grow and improve.
He runs six-week-long West Fargo tennis camps for girls and boys, and this year the coach started a junior tennis team program, giving future Packers a chance to work on their games.
"Things are going very well," said Chad Anderson. "It's been a real good summer, really promising for years to come. We've done a little extra this year. We're putting in more time and making it a little harder. It's paying off."
Players like Brady Ballweber, only a seventh grader, are showing they are already prepared to compete at a higher level, perhaps even varsity.
"He'll probably play a big role for us at that young age," said Chad Anderson, who has 10 players in his summer boys camp, including varsity regulars Ben Ballweber and Kyle and Kevin Roberts.
Chad Anderson recently coached mixed girls and boys 18 and under teams in Jamestown where they qualified for sectionals July 29-30 in Minneapolis. Winning teams qualify for nationals in Alabama.
Local players know tennis is a sport that requires constant practice and competition. High school tennis seasons last mere weeks, and players are left with a very long off-season to refine their skills.
"The thing with tennis is there's always skills you can be working on to better your game. If you take a month off you can lose what you've been working on year-round," said Broton. "It's great that we have more opportunities here in the winter and the summer."