BISMARCK - The Minot High School tennis team accomplished something on Thursday it hadn't done since 2004 by advancing to the state championship.
Minot beat Grand Forks Central 4-1 in the first round and edged Mandan 3-2 in the semifinals to clinch its appearance in today's final.
They'll face Grand Forks Red River, winners of the last 14 state championships and the team that took out the Magicians the last time they were here. MHS coach Scott DeLorme said despite the opponent, his team will not be intimidated.
"I don't think we'll necessarily need any more motivation for tomorrow morning," DeLorme said. "We're just going to go out and tell our boys to have fun. Nobody expects us to win. Our goal is to win."
Minot was without senior Peter Wilson (leg infection) for their first-round dual against Central. DeLorme inserted senior Kyle Gerding in his place. Gerding partnered with senior Landon Klein for a three-set win at No. 2 doubles.
Senior Hunter Oothoudt won at No. 1 singles and the sophomore-senior pairing of Dustin Foster and Lane Vendsel won a three-set match at No. 1 doubles.
Senior Jordin Gardner won his match at No. 3 singles and was undefeated on the afternoon, winning at No. 2 doubles against Mandan.
"Jordin's playing really well," DeLorme said. "Both singles and doubles, we have confidence in him. He had never played indoor tennis before this year. He really likes the indoor tennis and it suits his game to take away the outside elements. We have confidence. Regardless of where he ends up or who he's with, we definitely have confidence he can win a match."
The Magicians only won their semifinal 3-2 but won the first three completed matches. Wilson returned but, along with Vendsel, lost a three-set match at No. 1 doubles.
Gardner and junior Isaac Massey prevailed at No. 2 doubles, as did Oothoudt at No. 1 singles.
Foster won at No. 3 singles to finish perfect for the afternoon.
"Dustin's had a great year for us," DeLorme said. "We keep telling him he's gone so far, not only with his tennis game but with his mental side. He has done absolutely everything we've asked of him."
The championship begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Capital Racquet and Fitness Center in Bismarck.
- Daily News Staff