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Tennis team N.D. state runners-up

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The Packers tennis teams wrapped up its season with its best finish ever, taking second place in the state tournament on Friday.

The team topped Bismarck Century 3-2 in the first round on Thursday, then topped the west's best team, Bismarck St. Mary, by the same score three hours later.

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"I would have never thought we would have a chance of beating St Mary, and we beat them," head coach Chad Anderson said. "It was pretty neat."

The next day, the Packers met the Grand Forks Red River Roughriders in the state championship match, but ultimately lost 5-0.

Junior Sammie Smith -- playing through a broken thumb -- beat eventual individual state champ Caitlin Bakke during the team's match against St. Mary. She, however lost both of her matches in the individual bracket.

The doubles team of Katie Baasch and Kaylee Stock found some success in the doubles bracket, winning their first match, losing the next and eventually making it to the consolation semifinals before finally falling to Mandan's doubles team.

The doubles team of Mariah Stein and and Jamie Freden were forced to bow out of the competition due to injury.

"I think this season -- playing nine games in 10 days -- ended up being too much," Anderson said.

The team will maintain most of its core going into next season. Unfortunately, so will two of the toughest teams in the state.

"You would hope (taking second in the state) would create some momentum for next year, but St. Mary's and Red River are both bringing back most of their squads," Anderson said. "Where it will make a difference is throughout the regular season. All of that senior leadership will be a huge advantage."

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