The 2019 Middle Border Conference tennis tournament was an unusual one. Beginning on Tuesday, the tournament was rained out midway through and ended up taking three days to complete.
“It was great tennis all three days, but very cold,” said Baldwin-Woodville Coach Dana Helgeson. “The Blackhawks played some of their best tennis of the season!”
The Blackhawks finished with three second-place finishes, two thirds and two fourths.
The No. 1 doubles team of Libby Whirry and Jessica Jarvis claimed one of those second-place finishes, opening with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over a Unity duo. They followed with a second round victory over Osceola’s Dveorak and Jensen to advance to the championship match where they took on New Richmond’s Eickhoff and Tenner. Whirry and Jarvis started strong, claiming the first set, 6-3, but New Richmond rebounded to claim the next two sets 6-0, 12-10.
“I was so proud of Libby and Jessica,” Coach Helgeson said. “They played such great tennis. They played as one unit and complemented each other so well. They are the only team in our conference to take a set from New Richmond.”
At No. 3 singles, Alison Nutt defeated Mondovi’s Anna Roby, 7-6, 6-2, to advance to the championship match were she fell 3-6, 2-6 to New Richmond’s Izzy Brinkman.
“Alison competes well under pressure,” Helgeson said. “She is a natural on the courts.”
First-year player Bailey Albrightson set the tone for a promising future, earning second place at No. 4 singles. She opened with a 6-0, 6-0 shutout of Ellsworth’s Bailey Alters and followed by upending Amery’s Deidra Meyer, 6-4, 6-2. New Richmond’s Alanna Knutson won the championship match, 6-2, 6-2.
“She loves playing tennis, and it shows every time she steps on the court,” Helgeson said of Albrightson.
At No. 2 singles, Juneau Paulsen placed third, defeating Osceola’s Jam Dannenmuller, 6-3, 6-1 before falling to Amery’s Sophie Whitley, 4-6, 2-6. Paulsen bounced back to take her third match, 7-6, 6-4, over Mondovi’s Grace Boley.
“Juneau played on our JV team last year,” Coach Helgeson said. “She has done an amazing job at 2 singles this year. She has really stepped up her game.”
Also placing third was the No. 3 doubles team of Allison and Brooke Albrightson. The duo opened with a 6-2, 6-1 win over the Ellsworth team of Dawley and Schultz. In the second round, they were defeated by Osceola, 4-6, 1-6, but responded with 6-5, 7-5 victory over Amery in the third-place match.
“It was great tennis for them,” Helgeson said. “They both are very competitive and each have their own strengths which make them a great team. Tennis is new to them, but they are naturals. I’m excited for their future.”
Hannah Stitt placed fourth at No. 1 singles, winning her first round match, 6-2, 6-1 over Marissa Pax of Mondovi before falling to top-seeded Mia Bakke of New Richmond, 2-6, 1-6.
“Hannah played great both matches,” Helgeson said. “Hannah has become a fierce competitor. She plays every point like it’s her last.”
Amber and Abbie Delong also placed fourth at No. 2 doubles, winning their first match by forfeit and losing their second in three sets. They ended up forfeiting their third match due to illness.
“I have felt very blessed by our team,” Helgeson said. “We all spend so much time together that we start to become family. We have an amazing group of young women on our varsity team. They work so hard, are very respectful and supportive to each other and to us coaches.”