Ty's Take: Packers girls tennis right where it needs to be
It's no secret that Grand Forks Red River annually is the team to beat in girls tennis.
This year is no exception. The Roughriders (4-0 EDC, 4-0 overall) are flawless coming to the final stretch after winning each of their matches 9-0 and taking first place in last Saturday's West Fargo Invitational.
"This year is probably Red River's best team," West Fargo coach Chad Anderson said. "They have four or five singles players who could take state titles."
But just because the Riders are a daunting opponent, don't think the Packers (3-1, 5-2) are going to roll over in competition. As the Riders have improved, so too has West Fargo.
"Every year, the attitude does seem to get a little better. We feel we are getting closer, and we are more confident," Anderson said.
That confidence showed at the West Fargo Invitational, where the Packers found themselves in a similar position to Red River - behind. But West Fargo still placed second, and the margin to first was a mere four points.
"We have never been that high, so for us to be second place, it's really kind of a moral victory because Red River is always so good," Anderson said.
Chad Anderson's daughter, Beth, was in the running for a first-place finish in the first flight when she suddenly began feeling pain in her left elbow.
"It was one of those freak things," Chad said. She double-grips her backhand, "and was in a lot of pain, as well as during her toss for serve."
After going 6-0, 6-0 in the first round to Bismarck Century's Tonya Bauer, Beth's ailment was evident in her next match against Bismarck St. Mary's Caitlin Bakke. Beth slipped 4-6 out of the gate, than picked up the next set 6-4. But in the tiebreaker, she struggled. During the final point at 10-11, Bakke worked up to the net and sent a well-placed shot toward Beth, who returned it as a lob. It went wide.
Afterward, Beth decided to forfeit her next match because the pain seemed to be getting worse. Coach Anderson said Beth's elbow swelled up and looked bruised, but "we iced it a lot and she said it feels better," he said.
Good news, because the All-Conference and All-State senior would be greatly missed through the final stretch of the season.
As far as the reason behind West Fargo's best finish of the tournament, "I just put everyone in their usual lineup," Anderson said. "We got some pretty good seeds. It's not always the best player that wins. No matter where you're at you always have to play your best tennis."
The Packers got first-place finishes from Megan Broton (fourth flight), Cassie Smith (fifth flight), and Kaylee Stock (sixth flight). West Fargo also saw solid efforts from Sammie Smith (third flight, second place), Sarina Olson (second flight, sixth place), and the doubles team of Mariah Stein and Brooke Christensen (third flight, sixth place).
West Fargo has just three meets until the East Region tournament May 20-21, in Grand Forks. They faced South on Monday, but results were not in by press time. The Packers host Valley City at 4 p.m. on Friday, before their final regular-season meet next Tuesday at Wahpeton.
If they continue to play like they have all season, the Packers should be able to make a good run during tournament time. Who knows? Maybe Red River will get more competition than they bargained for.
"If we can just keep this going, it will keep getting better and better," Chad Anderson said. "It's been a good year all the way around."
Softball still strong
The West Fargo softball team has shown no signs of weakness as it attempts to capture a 13th-straight state title.
Last Tuesday, the Packers (16-2) allowed just two hits in an 11-0 win over Fargo South. West Fargo sophomore Kelsey Daul went 4-for-4 and scored four runs, while Kacie Johnson picked up the win.
Then Thursday, West Fargo swept Grand Forks Central 11-1 and 9-2 in a doubleheader. The Packers got things rolling in the first game with a seven-run first inning. Dani Nelson and Carissa Becher each tallied five hits, and Johnson got the win. During the nightcap, Nelson and Nicole Eisenzimmer each tripled, and Daul earned the victory.
The Packers were scheduled to face Moorhead on Tuesday, but results weren't in by press time. They play again at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at home against Shanley, before facing Thief River Falls at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Packers baseball nips at Bruins
A wet and wild Friday meant West Fargo baseball's game against Minot was nixed. Luckily, the Packers had plenty of time to get games in during the week.
The results were a continuation of West Fargo's already successful season. Doubleheaders Tuesday and Thursday resulted in a sweep of Fargo Shanley and a split with Fargo South, and now the Packers (8-1, 17-3) sit just a half-game behind the EDC-leading Bruins (9-1, 15-4) with five games left.
During the first game of Tuesday's doubleheader, Packers starter Matt Strahm whiffed 10 batters for a complete-game, 6-0 win over the Deacons. Then, sophomore and junior varsity transfer Landon Uetz went 3-for-5 at the plate to spark West Fargo in the nightcap, a 12-1 non-conference victory.
The Packers managed to hand Fargo South its first conference loss of the season on Thursday, but it took all of 12-innings to do it. Karson Mapes got the game-winning RBI during his first varsity at-bat, while also picking up the win on the mound after posting two shutout innings.
In Game 2, the Bruins beat West Fargo 5-4 in nine innings, but it was a nonconference matchup.
The Packers host Grand Forks Red River (4-4, 7-4) at 5 p.m. Thursday, and then host Fargo North (6-5, 8-11) on Friday at the same time. West Fargo was scheduled to play Moorhead on Monday, but the game was canceled because of inclement weather.
Girls soccer: West Fargo (3-3-1, 3-3-4) picked up a win and a tie last week. It defeated Grand Forks Central (1-6-0, 1-8-0) 4-0 on Tuesday, then tied Fargo North (5-1-1, 7-1-1) 1-1 on Saturday. The Packers were scheduled to face Red River (3-3-0, 3-4-1) on Tuesday, but results were not in by press time. They take part in an East-West Crossover in Fargo and West Fargo on Saturday, facing Bismarck St. Mary's at 11 a.m., and Mandan at 3 p.m.
Boys golf: The Packers were busy last week and took part in three invitationals. They finished third in Moorhead on Monday, second at Fargo South on Tuesday, and worked their way up from fourth to place third at the two-day Fargo North Invitational during the weekend. West Fargo went to Grand Forks on Monday, but results were not in by press time. They were scheduled to be in Detroit Lakes on Tuesday, Fergus Falls on Thursday, and the Fargo Shanley Invitational on Monday, May 17.