Berg breaks out
When Aaron Berg decided he would go out for boys tennis his freshman year, he wasn't expecting to make contributions on varsity. He didn't. But the Dickinson High junior wasn't sure if he'd be able to secure a roster spot as a sophomore either. A...
When Aaron Berg decided he would go out for boys tennis his freshman year, he wasn't expecting to make contributions on varsity.
But the Dickinson High junior wasn't sure if he'd be able to secure a roster spot as a sophomore either. And that's when he blossomed.
Berg started his sophomore campaign on junior varsity, winning the JV competition at the Minot Round Robin with an unbeaten record, which prompted Dickinson's coaches to give him a shot at No. 6 singles.
"It's been kind of a fast rise," Dickinson co-coach Larry Dockter said. "He wasn't your typical tennis player. You see a lot of kids come out here their freshman and sophomore years after football and they're too far behind to ever catch up. He really stuck it out."
Berg surprised many, posting a 6-1 regular-season record as a sophomore, losing only to a Jamestown player.
"I was kind of surprised," Berg said. "They gave me a shot and put me at No. 6, and I started winning."
This year, Berg has a 5-2 record, falling only to Mandan and Williston at No. 3 singles. Though he may not always win, the effort is always there, according to Dockter.
"He needs that effort," Dockter said. "His strokes are not what we call perfect strokes. He needs to put in that effort. ... He's not going to overpower you. He wins by being consistent. He really frustrates opponents by doing that."
Putting forth that effort is Berg's top winning strategy.
"Sometimes, if you have the mindset that you can get to every ball and work hard on every point, you can come back from matches you think you might lose," Berg said.
On Thursday, Berg and the Midgets will try to show the rest of the West Region they're worthy of a spot in the state team tournament. The West Region tournament opens with team competition, which sees fifth-seeded Dickinson take on fourth-seeded Mandan at 9:30 a.m. at the Tom O'Leary tennis courts.
"It's almost a mirror of last year," Dockter said, referring to when the Midgets entered with the No. 7 seed and earned one of the top four spots to qualify for state. "We still believe we can compete with any team. Hopefully, some of that luck and enthusiasm goes on and helps us win."
Dockter said the coaching staff hasn't figured out who's going to play singles or doubles for today's team competition. However, Dockter said he does know where his guys will be playing for the singles and doubles tournaments.
Berg will be the team's top singles player, followed by sophomore Dan Anderson and senior Alex Schroeder.
"He (Berg) has played well enough that he may get a top eight seed," Dockter said.
Dickinson's top two players -- seniors Luke Van Ells and Kyle Rummel -- are teaming up to play doubles as are seniors Nathan Magstadt and Beau Miller.
In the case of Van Ells and Rummel, Dockter said the two want to team up and play doubles, despite not being each other's normal partners during the season.
"For either one, (doubles) is not their strength," Dockter said. "My philosophy has always been that in their senior year, they can choose. They could both easily qualify for singles, but they both feel they have a shot at winning doubles.
"They want to try it and good luck to them."