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Bradley takes 6th in State for DHS tennis

"I’ve been working a lot, but I knew it would be a tough time. I had to be on point and just wait patiently for the time to make my winner shots...These players were on top," said Valeria Bradley.

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Valeria Bradley (far left) with state placers Phoebe Olson, Marissa Burian, Paige McCormick, Sophia Felderman and Mimi Gu at the 2022 State Girls Tennis Singles Championships in Grand Forks.
Photo / Courtesy of Lia Bradley
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Grand Forks, N.D. — Three of Dickinson High School's top tennis players took on, what they say, was some of the toughest competition they've ever faced.

Valeria Bradley, Shayna Klitzke and Lola Homiston all qualified for the 2022 State Girls Tennis Singles Championships held June 3rd and 4th at the Grand Forks Choice Health & Fitness. After a series of several brutal matches, Valeria Bradley finished 6th in the state for DHS.

“It was super exciting that we had three girls go to state,” Lia Bradley, DHS tennis coach, said. "Out of the eight that qualified for state in the individuals, three were from Dickinson. They blew me away. We had more than any other team in the west qualify individually.”

Compared to last year, Coach Bradley says all of her girls have substantially improved their skills on the court.

Homiston and Klitzke readied their rackets for battle June 3rd and both lost their last matches that would have landed them in the top 8 in state. At the conclusion of the tournament, Homiston finished in the top 16 while eighth grader Klitzke finished in the top 12 — both competing in their first year of state competition.

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DHS eighth grader Shayna Klitzke placed in the top 12 at state last week.
Photo by Amber I. Neate

Valeria Bradley however, won her match June 3rd, which secured her spot in the top 8. She advanced to the next round of match-ups and finished 6th in the state, beating Alissa Summerfield of Shanley.

“It was a high level of competition,” Valeria Bradley said. “These players were on top. I’ve been working a lot, but I knew it would be a tough time. I had to be on point and just wait patiently for the time to make my winner shots.”

According to Coach Bradley, there have only been two other players from DHS to place in the top 6 at state since 2006.

Although this was a huge accomplishment for DHS girls tennis, the team agrees that the best part about the entire season was getting to support each other and form unbreakable bonds.

“I love the times we have spent together this season riding the bus, seeing them laugh, bond and create memories to last a lifetime,” Coach Bradley said. “It’s been rewarding to see them improve from a beginner tennis player to an advanced level player. Seeing their confidence grow has been incredible for me.”

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Valeria Bradley (left), Lola Homiston (middle) and Lia Bradley (right) are thankful to have made it to state and had the opportunity to work together as a powerful team this season.
Photo / courtesy of Lia Bradley

For Homiston, wrapping up the season is bittersweet.

As a graduating senior, this is her final year playing competitive tennis. She plans to continue playing leisurely in her free time after high school and says she will miss the team unity aspect of the game.

“We’re all really close and it was great to have a loving team that stuck together,” Homiston said. “I played the best I’ve ever played in my entire life (at state). I lost both my matches, but I know I played the best I could have possibly done so I can’t be mad about that.”

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Homiston says she faced incredibly well-rounded tennis players who had strong forehands and backhands. Their quick paced serves challenged her to run all over the court to keep up.

Next season, the girls hope to make their way to the state championship again and place even better according to Coach Bradley.

“We have to keep improving,” Coach Bradley said. “We are shooting to see players grow even more over the next year with training and tournaments but it takes a lot of dedication so we have to be all in.”

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Valeria Bradley placed 6th in state at the 2022 State Girls Tennis Singles Championships.
Photo / courtesy of Lia Bradley

Related Topics: DICKINSONPREP SPORTSTENNIS
Amber Neate grew up in rural Skull Valley, Arizona. Her passion of covering sports of all types, including personal favorites wrestling, hockey, rodeo and football, began at an early age.

She obtained her Associate of Arts Degree from Yavapai Community College before attending Northern Arizona University for a three-year journalism program. While at NAU, Neate worked as an Assistant Sports Editor for the Lumberjack Newspaper as well as a hockey commentator for KJACK Radio.

Gaining her experience working for a small community paper, The Wickenburg Sun, as a general news and features reporter, her love for sports and a small-town community brings her to Dickinson to cover southwest North Dakota sports.

LANGUAGES: English
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