Growth is never by chance and never an easy road to the top, and that was clear when Dickinson High School girls varsity tennis had a long drive back to Dickinson — not once, but twice this week after falling to Legacy and Mandan.

Despite these losses to two of WDA’s top teams, they still held their heads high and battle ready. They continued down the road with the sunset on their backs for the non-conference East-West Crossovers tourney.

Early in the week, May 11, the girls traveled to Legacy for a close matchup. Prior to the match, Legacy was 2-2 in the conference and the Midgets were 2-1. It would be a game that would define each on the WDA table.

DHS found early success with their No.1 Valeria Bradley who fought a well contested battle against Legacy senior, Cameron Beasley. Valeria Bradley took the first set 6-1 but loss the lead in the second with a 2-6 result but dug deep and risked it all with winning and confident shots in the final set that would end 6-1.

The Dickinson seniors and co-captains also came out of the gate hungry for wins. Emma Dazell took on Sierra Knoll in winning sets, 6-4 and 6-2. Her fourth consecutive win this season.

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Elizabeth Dean followed with another win that was against Kristen Ness. It was a heated battle that came down to the third set. The first one was one with ease, 6-1 but flip in the second 3-6. Dean kept her composure and secured the win in the third, 6-3.

Lola Homiston, Julianne Kadrmas and Rachel Dazell were unable to win their sets and doubles also fell in favor of the Legacy players. The final result was 3-6. Though Homiston lost against Kristen Ness, her matches were well contested, winning 7 games out of the two sets.

“We had three wins against three tough players and our doubles were competitive as well,” head coach Lia Bradley said. “But everybody went out and played tough and I am very proud of the team.”

Two days later, May 13, they faced the greatest challenge of the season, taking on Mandan, No.1 in the WDA and a favorite for state.

Valeria Bradley lost her first match of the season against seasoned player Elizabeth Felderman in two sets, winning 4 games out of the two. Elizabeth Dazell also found heartbreak after losing the tiebreaker in the second set. Her opponent was Elizabeth Felderman's younger sister, Sophia Felderman.

Then came the strong and exciting match up of Dean versus Elizabeth Allan. Their match went into the third set; 3-6, 6-1 for the first two sets. The third set tied up to 6 wins each and then wasn't settled until a tie breaker. Dean's ability to hold steady and focus showed that the Dickinson team is one to be taken seriously in conference play.

“Elizabeth Dean won against their No.3 spot and that was a real highlight,” Lia Bradley said. “(Dean) didn't let up, she fought till the end even though her opponent was a game ahead in the last set. She continued to battle and never let her head down… It was her perseverance, mental determinants and positive attitude that got her ahead in the very close matchup."

The rest of the matches did not hold well for the Midgets losing the remaining three singles and the three doubles. The final score was 1-8.

Mandan could easily be a matchup that would break many opponents but the young Dickinson team once again hit the road to participate in the East-West Crossovers tourney, May 14.

“Each loss served as a lesson and as an opportunity for them to get better,” Lia Bradley said.

With their two recent losses and a conference record of 2-3, the Midgets hit the ground running— and scoring — as they entered West Fargo, the tournament host, courts and showed a winning mindset picking up three wins against eastern teams.

The first match to start the tourney was DHS vs Valley City at 9 a.m. Central Time. Though it was a close matchup, it would ultimately favor Dickinson high in a 3-2 win. The second game was against Fargo South and was an overwhelming win of 5-0. They then repeated themselves with another 5-0 win against Wahpeton. Tomorrow, May 15 the tournament will continue and the Midgets hope to continue their good form.