Saturday, February 24, 2018

Madisan Chavez backhands the ball at the state tennis tournament held in Livingston and Bozeman last week. Chavez placed second overall in singles play.
Michael Neeser goes for the ball in boy’s doubles play. Neeser and Darnell Lefthand took fourth place overall in the state.

Three Bulldogs place at state tennis tournament

Chavez takes second place in girls single play

The Hardin Bulldog tennis team placed in two events at the state tennis tournament held in Livingston and Bozeman last week.

Madisan Chavez took second place in girls singles play, and fourth place went to the duo of Darnell Lefthand and Michael Neeser in boys doubles action.

Head Coach Mike Flamm said, “All four of the Eastern A doubles teams made it not only into the quarterfinals, but semifinals as well. The first four of the six places are held by Eastern A players.”

Flamm pointed to the team point totals.

“Billings Central and Glendive held 58 of the 132 team points scored. It shows one just how tough the east is,” he said. “In any other division, Lefthand/Neeser would have been No. 1 seed.”

Lefthand/Neeser were the Eastern A conference No. 4 seed.

To get to the semifinals, they defeated Polson’s No. 1 seed, Cadis Chowning/Matt Sitter, 6-1 and 6-4 in first round play and then defeated Dillon’s Gunnar Maisch/Isaak Koslosky 1-6, 6-2 and 7-6.

In the semifinals, they ran into the eventual state champions Simon Marshall/Joey Nichols of Billings Central, who beat them 6-2 and 6-2. That put Lefthand/Neeser in a fight with Havre’s Jerod Boles/Jake Sedahl, who Hardin took in two sets – 6-3 and 6-3 – at the consolation semifinals.

Lefthand/Neeser lost to Glendive’s Jarod Asche/Bret Vester 6-4 and 6-4, giving them a fourth place finish.

In girls play, Madisan Chavez placed second and, as in the Eastern A divisionals, her second place loss was to Barclay Fagg of Billings Central.

“Chavez didn’t make any mistakes,” Flamm said. “She played good, solid, patient tennis. Chavez is a wall. She could very well be state champion next year.”

In the first round, Chavez played Taylor Woods of Lewistown, and defeated her 6-0 and 6-0. That moved her into the quarterfinals, where she defeated Dillon’s Mariah McClure 6-0 and 6-1. In the semifinals, Chavez took the next victory against Marlee Congdon of Polson in three sets: 4-6, 6-1 and 6-1.

“She lost her first set,” Flamm said. “She re-focused and won her last two sets. Chavez just played unbelievable tennis.”

Chavez lost her match for first to Fagg of Billings at 6-0 and 6-0.

In other singles action, Brittney Schaff, the east’s No. 4 seed, lost her first round, won her first round and second round consolation, and was finally defeated just one match from making the placing rounds.

“Schaff played tough. She just ground it out,” Flamm said. “Against Corvalis, she was down 0-4, fought her way back and ended up dismantling that girl. It was the best tennis she ever played.”

Hardin’s No. 4 seed doubles duo of Imani Kindness/Naumie DuShane were out in two matches.

Flamm said, “Kindness/DuShane played fine. They just had a tough draw.”

“It was gratifying to see these kids do so well,” he continued. “I want to thank Bernice Cook, Cole Passes and Larry Ericksen. They did such a good job working with these kids. They brought a lot of energy to the team.”