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Whitefish tennis teams defeat conference foes last week

by WHITNEY ENGLAND
Whitefish Pilot | May 10, 2023 1:00 AM

In a busy week for Whitefish tennis, the boys team went undefeated while the girls were 3-1 with their only loss being to Flathead High School.

The girls team’s most exciting match of the year according to head coach Patrick Dryden was against Columbia Falls, which came down to the final three matches.

“We were tied 2-2… and had three matches on,” he recalled “The last three matches were all basically coin flips where it came down to the last point. We won two of the three and all three of those matches ended within 30 seconds of each other.”

One of those wins came from the No. 3 doubles team of Colby Wharton and Lizzy Holien who beat the CFalls team in three sets, 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-4. Dryden says Fiona Shannahan also had a big win at No. 3 singles, winning 7-6(3), 6-4.

“Fiona Shanahan pulled off a monumental upset knocking off Zoey Byrd, 7-6, 7-5,” Dryden said. “That was the first time Fiona has played at No. 3 singles and she really responded.”

Another competitive matchup was against Libby — Whitefish won 4-2. The Bulldogs had two-set wins from their No. 1 and 2 singles when Alivia Lusko defeated Macey Halvorson 6-1, 6-3 and Camry Kelch won over Elaina Covington, 6-0, 6-4. Whitefish also got wins at No. 1 and 2 doubles. In April when the two teams played, it was much closer with Whitefish narrowly winning 4-3 over the Loggers.

“The Libby match… that was the moment when we took a huge leap forward as a team,” Dryden said. “We went toe to toe with a really good Libby team and came away with a 4-2 victory.”

Against Flathead, the girls lost 5-2 but hung in each match. They got wins at No. 1 doubles and at No. 2 singles when Kelch won in a third-set tiebreaker.

“Ainsley Scott and Maggie Mercer picked up a resounding win at No. 1 doubles and Camry Kelch played her best match of the year winning in three sets,” Dryden recalled.

For the boys, Whitefish coach Chris Schwaderer says it was a big week, but an incredibly productive week for the team.

Like the girls, the two most interesting matchups were against Columbia Falls and Libby. The Whitefish boys had lost to Libby earlier this year, but this time pulled off a 6-1 win. Schwaderer says since the first time they played the Loggers, they’ve made a lot of improvements.

“The lineup is starting to come together,” he said. “For the first few weeks, we kind of had an identity problem — we didn’t really know who we were and where we belong — but that has improved.”

The Bulldogs swept the singles matches against Libby, led by Buren Brust at No. 1 singles who took down Tyler Anderson, 6-4, 6-1.

Against Columbia Falls, Whitefish got the sweep 7-0. Earlier this year it was much closer and Schwaderer said he liked to see the changes in the team through the season.

“We looked like a completely different team… top to bottom I think we’ve got some pretty steady players in there and it’s just good to see, particularly Buren (Brust) and Jack (Oehlerich) up at the top, I feel like they’re getting tuned up to go into the postseason,” Schwaderer said.

In the CFalls match, the coach switched up the No. 1 doubles team to Dane Hunt and Johnny Nix who took care of business in an exciting three-set match, defeating Will Pickard/Dale Blickhan, 6-1, 5-7, 7-5.

Whitefish also defeated Flathead and Ronan, both 7-0, last week.

The Bulldogs head into the final week of the regular season playing Polson on Thursday at 3 p.m. at home and then Hamilton and Corvallis on Saturday.

GIRLS RESULTS

Whitefish 4, Columbia Falls 3

Singles

Cloey Ramage (CF) def. Alivia Lusko, 6-0, 6-0; Lexi Oberholtzer (CF) won by forfeit; Fiona Shannahan (WF) def. Zoey Byrd, 7-6(3), 6-4; Aliyah Arends (CF) def. Gretel Vine, 4-6, 6-4(9).

Doubles

Ainsley Scott/Maggie Mercer (WF) def. Kati Crockett/Clare Stewart, 6-0, 6-1; Zoey Marzo/Camry Kelch (WF) def. Kya West/Eloise McKeon, 7-6(1), 6-2; Colby Wharton/Lizzy Holien (WF) def. Fiona Bryant/Apani Awua, 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-4.

Whitefish 4, Libby 2

Singles

Alivia Lusko (WF) def. Macey Halvorson, 6-1, 6-3; Camry Kelch (WF) def. Elaina Covington, 6-0, 6-4; Marissa Hollingsworth (LIB) def. Colby Wharton, 6-0, 6-1.

Doubles

Ainsley Scott/Maggie Mercer (WF) def. Ellie Andreessen/Allie Thorstonson, 6-2, 7-5; Zoey Marzo/Gretel Vine (WF) def. Ashley Freese/Maggie Fontozzi, 6-3, 6-3; Savannah Lucas/ Kaitlyn Canary (LIB) won by forfeit.

BOYS

Whitefish 7, Columbia Falls 0

Singles

Buren Brust (WF) def. Logan Heupel, 6-2, 6-3; Jack Oehlerich (WF) def. Jax Ramage, 6-3, 6-1; Connor Kelly (WF) def. Carson Warnen, 6-2, 6-2; Reid Pickett (WF) def. Conner Malmberg, 6-2, 6-2.

Doubles

Dane Hunt/Johnny Nix (WF) def. Will Pickard/Dale Blickhan, 6-1, 5-7, 7-5; Mason Kelch/Jesse Burrough (WF) def. Silas Ypma/Oliver McDonald, 6-4, 6-2; Walt Seigmund/Logan Hyland (WF) def. Connor Zumalt/Rafe Rusche, 6-3, 6-3.

Whitefish 6, Libby 1

Singles

Buren Brust (WF) def. Tyler Anderson 6-4, 6-1; Jesse Burrough (WF) def. Thomas Roark 7-5, 6-4; Jack Oehlerich (WF) def. Cylis Goddard 6-2, 6-2; Owen Erickson (WF) def. Xavier Reatz 6-4, 6-0.

Doubles

Mason Kelch/Dane Hunt (WF) def. Trevor Collins/Alderic Martineau 6-4, 6-2; Zach Fantozzi/Ayden Montgomery (LIB) def. Walt Seigmund/Connor Kelly 5-7, 6-3, 6-2; Cole Moses/Aaron Anderson (WF) def. Jennings Greenfield/Morgan Davis 6-3, 6-2.

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Bulldog Dane Hunt plays in the No. 1 doubles match against Columbia Falls on Tuesday, May 2 in Whitefish. (Chris Peterson photo)

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Whitefish's Alivia Lusko plays against Columbia Falls' Cloey Ramage in a No. 1 singles match on Tuesday, May 2 in Whitefish. (Chris Peterson photo)

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