West Fargo returns three standout tennis players
The West Fargo boys tennis team made history last year by earning a spot in the state tournament team competition for the first time since 1978.
The Packers battled through to the championship match, where they lost to Grand Forks Red River.
Coach Chad Anderson thinks this season will be different.
That’s because he returns three players who he feels are candidates to be called the best players in the state.
“We have three players that are returning that have been on varsity for a long time,” Anderson said, who returns for his 14th season as head coach of the Packers. “They are probably three of the better players in the state. They put in lots of time.”
Seniors Brady Ballweber and Keyan Farahmand made names for themselves at last year’s state tournament when they became the first non-Grand Forks Red River doubles team to win a state championship since 2006 and the first Packer team to ever win one.
They return this year as leaders on the court.
“It was awesome,” said Farahmand, recalling the moment him and Ballweber were crowned state champions. “I can’t really explain it. It was just excitement. I screamed as loud as I could and just looked at Brady.”
Ballweber is slated to start at No. 1 singles for the Packers this season and Farahmand will battle sophomore North Knewtson for the No. 2 position.
“(Ballweber and Farahmand) have been playing since seventh grade,” Anderson said. “They bring tons of leadership and it is fun watching them grow up and mature. It’s what makes it a neat sport. Instead of getting them for two or three years, I get them for six.”
Knewtson, as a freshman, defeated Red River’s Andrew Godon 2-1 in the singles competition to take third place and tie Ballweber’s third place finish back in 2012 for the highest singles finish in school history.
“That was a good experience,” Knewtson said. “There were a lot of tough players and it was really good to overcome that.”
While Anderson has confidence in his top three spots, he has plenty of young talent looking to fill the remaining varsity positions.
“As far as the young ones go what I probably will do is be playing a lot of them on varsity,” Anderson said. “When a tournament comes around I’ll have more people with that experience and it just seems to help out during the tournament time.”
The Packers open their season at home this Friday against Fargo Shanley.