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State champ duo to usher in new era of Packers tennis

West Fargo’s Keyan Farahmand, pictured, and Brady Ballweber took first place in state doubles last season. David Samson1 / 2
West Fargo’s Keyan Farahmand and Brady Ballweber, pictured, took first place in state doubles last season. David Samson2 / 2

West Fargo senior Brady Ballweber started playing tennis at a young age when his father, who happened to be a collegiate tennis player himself, put the very first tennis racquet in his hands.

Keyan Farahmand, also a senior at West Fargo, started playing tennis when he was in seventh grade, but it wasn’t his father who got him to take up the sport, it was Ballweber, his neighbor.

“Brady actually introduced me to tennis,” Farahmand said. “He played since he was really young and we used to be neighbors and he showed me in the driveway.”

After the first practice, it didn’t take much to recruit him to the team.

“I was like, that’s pretty cool, and so he told me to join and I just came out to practice,” Farahmand said. “I started out on JV and worked my way up from the bottom.”

The pair would play together for five years before being put to the ultimate test last season. They faced a doubles team from Grand Fork Red River, a school known for its dominate tennis program, in the state title match.

But they had a trump card. Ballweber and Farahmand already had beaten the Roughrider duo of Andre Caoili and Jake Kuhlman in the Eastern Dakota Conference championship match.

“I was pretty nervous because Red River was really good and they’ve won for the past couple years,” Farahmand said. “But at EDC we beat them in the championship so we had some confidence going into state that we could beat them.”

In the state championship match, Ballweber and Farahmand defeated the Roughrider duo 6-0; 1-6; 6-4, becoming the first boys tennis players from West Fargo to win an individual state championship.

“Beating a team twice is hard, so beating those guys, the defending state champs was a big accomplishment for us,” Ballweber said. “And then on top of that, the state title is awesome.”

During their senior season Ballweber and Farahmand will be relied on heavily as role models and help the young roster develop and usher in a new era of Packers tennis.

“Their ability to help the young ones is just huge,” Packers head coach Chad Anderson said. “They are able to talk to them and treat them with respect, so the young ones really want to get better and that says a lot about the older ones. The maturity of being a six-year player is a biggy”

Both plan to play collegiate tennis. Ballweber has talked with the University of North Dakota and a few schools in Minnesota, but according to him it’s all still up in the air. The same goes for his doubles partner.

“I’m leaning towards playing tennis in college,” Farahmand said. “I’m kind of deciding where to go and all that stuff.”