DHS learning to win consistently
The oldest player for the Dickinson High girls tennis team is a junior. The youngest is a freshman. By no surprise, Dickinson head coach James Kramer knew the team would go through growing pains. "The youth in our top end of the end of the lineup...
The oldest player for the Dickinson High girls tennis team is a junior.
The youngest is a freshman.
By no surprise, Dickinson head coach James Kramer knew the team would go through growing pains.
"The youth in our top end of the end of the lineup compared to other teams definitely showed up," Kramer said. "But, one thing our girls did throughout the whole year is compete hard no matter who they were playing.
"It's a learning curve. They did learn a lot and I think we are going to build on that."
Despite a wealth of underclassmen, the seventh-seeded Midgets have responded well through adversity and came away with three dual wins and will be looking for two more during the West Region Tournament, where they face No. 2 seed Bismarck Century beginning today in Bismarck.
"We definitely know that we have a chance," Dickinson sophomore Meryl Kovacs said. "We just have to play good tennis."
Kramer added: "We won some matches this year, where last we didn't win any. We had some close matches. They played hard and there was improvement from day one until today. That's what any coach wants to see in any sport."
The team competition is Thursday and Friday, while the individual tournament begins Friday and concludes Saturday.
Though the tennis season was marred by April snowstorms, Dickinson junior Lindsey Bakken said the team has progressed each day from the beginning of the season until now.
"I was a little nervous starting the season," Bakken said about the team's youth. "But, it worked out really well. It worked out better than I expected."
The singles and doubles matches during team competition has yet to be determined, but Kramer knows the competitors for the individual side.
The singles are going to be Bakken, junior Shealynn Roller and sophomore Kayla Wallace, while the doubles teams will be Kovacs and junior Mariah Jorda and junior McKenna Love and freshman Ireland Jung.
"You kind of have to look at the West Region Tournament two fold," Kramer said. "First day is all team competition, so we have to put together a lineup that we feel we are the most competitive, and then try to predict what teams you are going to play. It's all about what lineups they put out there. We have about five different scenarios of lineups that we'll use depending on who we play.
"Then you have to completely shift gears and think individually, because on Friday you'll start individual matches."
Dickinson's first thought is the West Region Tournament and possibly achieving a state qualifiers, but Kramer said it's reassuring that every player going to regionals will return next season.
"You kind of have to look at it bigger than the one season," Kramer said. "It's a program and it's a process. I get excited about some of the kids in the freshman class coming up. We will not lose one person from our 12-person varsity roster this year. Anytime you can do that, it completely shortens up your learning curve at the beginning of next year."
One key difference from last year to this season is the mindset that Dickinson has the ability to win against any team in the state. Bakken said that mindset has gone a long way.
"We go in thinking that we have a chance every single time," she said. "It's so much better than just assuming we won't do well against some of the harder teams."