Four Beaver boys, two girls earn spots in this week’s state tourney

M.P. Regan
Wednesday, May 26, 2021

In a Southwest A Divisional tourney blown ahead on calendar by unpromising weather forecasts, the Beaverhead County High School boys tennis team stood firm last week in the Bitterroot Valley, reaffirming its stature as the league’s top team by winning the boys team tourney title.

“We had a pretty good couple of days,” said BCHS Tennis Head Coach Jeff Koslosky of his Beaver boys and girls performances in Hamilton at the Southwest A Division tourney that got played a couple days earlier than originally scheduled.

“We saw good performances from pretty much everybody. Everybody played their best tennis of the season,” commented Koslosky of his players’ efforts at a tourney fast-forwarded to last Tuesday and Wednesday, and moved in its later stages from outdoors to indoors, due a snowstorm due to hit the area during its originally scheduled span later in the week.

The Beaver boys earned the Southwest A tourney team title with 47 points, outdistancing second-place Corvallis (34 points) and third-place Hamilton (29), as well as Stevensville and Butte Central.

The Dillon duo of Jett Mosher & John Bramlet continued their season-long Southwest A Division dominance, sweeping their three tourney matches last week without losing a set on their way to the boys doubles title.

BCHS boys singles standouts Marcus Sandall and Sam Jones also earned top-three finishes in Hamilton, where each lost just once—to tourney champ Andy Purcell of Hamilton.

“I felt like I played pretty well. I tried to play smart against my opponents’ weaknesses,” said Jones of his run to the divisional tourney boys singles finals through a pair of straight-sets wins over familiar opponents (Hamilton’s Colin Hanley and Paul Powell of Corvallis).

“That was the best I have played against these kids,” said Jones, who dropped zero sets and just three games on his way to 1-6, 6-7 loss to Purcell in the finals.

Sandall gained a spot at the state tourney the harder way. Following his first-round bye, secondround 6-0, 6-1 win over Hamilton’s Dawson Berglund and third-round setback to Purcell, Sandall travelled to the back-draw semifinals, where he defeated Corvallis’ Aaron Powell, 6-2, 6-2.

Sandall then gained third place in the state tourney bracket by bettering Hanley, 6-4, 6-2, in the consolation final.

“That one actually had the least amount of pressure,” said Sandall of the third-place match played after he’d secured a top four finish at the divisional tourney and a place in the state tourney—where he could again come across Purcell, a player he topped, 6-4, 6-1, in a match on May 1.

The Dillon girls doubles team of Eden Kindberg & Rachel Fluckiger also secured tickets to Billings with a good run at the divisional tourney last week.

“We’ve both been playing for a long time, and we’ve been best friends also for a long time,” said Kindberg, of a key to the success she’s enjoyed this season with Fluckiger.

The first-year pairing won over a team from Corvallis and another from Hamilton to kick off their divisional tourney last week.

They then lost a semifinal to eventual tourney titlists Molly Powell & Bailey Jessop of Corvallis, but bounced back to win their semifinal in the back draw, 6-2, 6-4, over Butte Central’s Avery Kelly & Mati McGree, securing fourth place in the division and a place at the Montana State A Tennis Tourney in Billings set to be played Thursday and Friday.

“I think that’s the best we ever played as a team,” said Kindberg of a peak performance Koslosky noted in a lot of his players at the divisional tourney last week.

“We would have liked to get a couple more players into state,” said Koslosky, who will take Ruby Pierce as an alternate to be used in Billings if either Fluckiger or Kindberg suffer a state-tourney-ending injury.

“We had a few who were just one match away from making it,” noted Koslosky of boys duo Josiah Jones & Eli Sherwood, and girls singles player Alanah Rose, who all won matches at divisionals, as did Dillon’s Bella Glossa.

Koslosky believes some of the Beaver boys going to Billings this week stand good chances of standing on the podium at the end of the Montana State A tourney.

“Jett and John will see their stiffest competition returning in form of couple of teams they have seen his season,” said Koslosky of boys doubles duos from other parts of the state, including Hardin’s Ben Noteboom & Kent Swisse (the Southeast A boys doubles champs), and Sean Mehling & Jace Guptil, the only duo to defeat Mosher & Bramlet all season.

“They will have to be on their A game,” said Koslosky, who also believes Sandall and Jones can go deep in the boys singles bracket in Billings.

“They both have a good shot of getting to the final four, and if they each have a couple of really good days, they could end up in title match playing against each other,” said Koslosky of Jones and Sandall, who went into the Southwest A Division tourney last week as the top two seeds.

“Our boys as a team at state— based on the numbers we have a little bit of an uphill battle to win,” said Koslosky, whose boys team title win in Hamilton last week got aided by singles match victories from Isaac Sandall and Kyle Hawley.

“But I think a good shot to finish in top three.”

See next week’s Dillon Tribune to find out how BCHS players fared at this week’s State A tennis tourney in Billings.