Dillon players persevere at divisional

Doubles partners Whitney Southam (left) and Kansas Suenram prepare to serve.

 

The Dillon girls’ tennis team came out on top in the most important aspects of sports at the Southwestern A Divisional Tournament in Corvallis.

Displaying maturity and sportsmanship in the face of often trying conditions, Dillon’s top doubles team of seniors Kansas Suenram and Whitney Southam secured their passage to the state tournament for the second consecutive year with a runner-up showing, while their fellow Lady Beavs doubles team of Taryn Judge and Holly Hansen booked a spot in the state tournament in Polson tomorrow and Friday by earning third-place at the tournament.

Both Dillon teams played amidst some dreary weather and a sometimes hostile home crowd that heckled and jeered but never rattled the Dillon players.

“I was really proud of all our players,” said Lois Woodard, who serves as head coach for Dillon’s boys and girls tennis team.

“They kept their sportsmanship and good manners through everything. We have a lot of good, solid kids coming out of this community from good solid families, and they proved that once again in Corvallis.”

The Dillon girls team finished with 37 points, second to Corvallis, but ahead of Hamilton, Stevensville and Butte Central.

Dillon juniors Judge & Hansen went on to win the back draw in girls doubles after falling to teammates Suenram & Southam in the front draw semifinals, while Dillon’s up-and-coming young doubles team of Timber McQuiston and Caitlyn Feldt also notched a win in Corvallis.

Janet Moore, Taylor Eighorn and Morgan Evans all won singles matches for the Lady Beavs, as did Morgan Peterson, who also earned a spot in the state tournament by advancing all the way to the divisional semifinals, before falling to eventual divisional singles champion Laramie McHugh.

Woodard said amidst all the excitement of the divisional tournament, she saw Peterson, who is class valedictorian, studying and doing homework between matches along with BCHS classmate and boys tennis player Austin Finch.

Playing in their first divisional tournament at the close of their inaugural season as a team, Finch and the rest of the Dillon boys put in a good showing in Corvallis.

Finch and doubles partner Adam Waldorf won a match, while teammates Todd Rakich and Mark Waldrup, who formed their playing partnership just this month, picked up a pair of wins.

“A number of our boys players did really well, especially Todd and Mark,” said Woodard, who helped give the duo a crash course in doubles play the last two weeks.

“Both their losses came against very strong teams. They were disappointed, naturally, but I was really proud of them.

“We really wish they could play together for another year. Todd being a senior and playing for only one year at this level was really tough, but he really did very well. Mark is only a freshman, so it bodes well for his long-term future.”

The short-term future for the Dillon girls heading to the state tournament tomorrow also looks promising.

“I’m really confident about our chances,” said Suenram, who advanced to state last year with partner Southam.

“We’ve already played a lot of the teams that will be there. Some we’ve beaten, some we’ve lost to, but I am confident we will hold our own against any of them,” said Suenram, the BCHS class salutatorian who plans to start her collegiate studies in physical therapy at the University of Montana this fall.

“We’ve come a long way this year as a doubles team. We are a lot more aggressive and confident. A lot of that is due to Lois. She is a great coach and has taught us how to win.”