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Whitefish tennis successful down in the Bitterroot

by WHITNEY ENGLAND
Whitefish Pilot | May 3, 2023 1:00 AM

The Whitefish boys and girls tennis teams had a successful weekend at the Bitterroot Invite as well as two other matches against Hamilton and Corvallis.

The boys team won both dual matches 4-3 over Hamilton and Corvallis. For the Bitterroot Invite, the boys won seven matches, only losing once.

“I thought our guys looked really great, I feel like we’re starting to move into mid-season form,” said Whitefish head coach Chris Schwaderer. “I’m super impressed with the way everyone has developed, there’s some players that have really just stepped up.”

Individually the boys had a good performance from their No. 1 doubles team of Mason Kelch and Jesse Burrough. The Kelch/Burrough team swept their Invite matches in straight sets, winning over Stevensville 6-1, 6-0 and Dillon 6-2, 6-0. The boys No. 2 doubles of Dane Hunt and Johnny Nix also swept their matches as well as No. 2 singles Buren Brust. At No. 1 singles, freshman Jack Oehlerich dropped a match to Stevensville’s Angus Trangmoe but won over Dillon’s Joshua Jones in a tiebreaker — 6-4, 7-6 (10).

“Our doubles are in great shape… I’m really encouraged by the gains that we’ve made,” Schwaderer said.

For the dual matches the day prior, Whitefish again had a great performance from their doubles teams. Schwaderer switched up the teams by pairing Kelch with Hunt against Corvallis, and they handled it without a problem, winning 6-2, 6-0. The singles players had a tougher go, with only Whitefish’s No. 3 and 4 players winning — Connor Kelly won over Hamilton and Corvallis and Logan Hyland got a win over Corvallis.

Schwaderer said that although at singles things have been tougher for their No. 1 and 2 players Oehlerich and Brust, they are young and are making encouraging progress.

“They’ve just made incredible gains over the course of the season,” he said. “Our singles was a little bit of an unknown quantity for a while, and they’ve stepped in and they get better every match whether they win or lose.”

The girls in the Invite also took care of business, sporting a 6-2 record for the day.

“I thought we competed really well against Hamilton and we were a little flat against Corvallis,” recalled Whitefish girls coach Patrick Dryden. “But we really bounced back on Saturday and had a good performance.”

For the girls, at the Bitterroot Invite, Whitefish’s No. 1 singles Alivia Lusko swept her matches. She won over Dillon’s Sage Tash in a tiebreaker, 6-3, 1-6, 1-0 (8) — a girl she lost to earlier in the season.

“Alivia ended up beating her in a third set tiebreaker 10-8 and that was probably the most intense match of the tournament,” Dryden said. “That was such a turnaround, having lost to the girl earlier in the year.”

Lusko also got a straight-set win over Butte Central’s Maycee Anderson, 6-2, 6-2. At No. 2 singles, Camry Kelch had no problem getting two wins over players from Darby and Stevensville.

The Whitefish doubles teams also saw some success at the Invite, both splitting their matches. At No. 1 doubles Ainsley Scott and Maggie Mercer first lost to Dillon, but came out with a win over Butte Central. At No. 2 doubles, Gretel Vine and Zoey Marzo combined to win over Loyola, but lost to Dillon in a tiebreaker.

Dryden says the girls are preparing to play in some heat this week as temperatures are predicted to get up to 80 degrees.

Whitefish was scheduled to play Columbia Falls on Tuesday after press time. The Bulldogs will play Flathead High on Wednesday at FVCC at 3 p.m. and on Thursday will host Ronan at 11 a.m. and Libby at 3 p.m. at both Riverside and Grouse Mountain courts.