Eighth-grader Halli Essington took ninth place at the high school state tennis tournament this past weekend in Rapid City. She competed at number six singles and defeated Mitchell’s Madison Bohlen 10-4 in the consolation championship round.
“Halli did not disappoint. She rallied to win four consolation matches in a row enroute to her ninth place finish, earning 13 points,” stated Bulldog head tennis coach Jim Dahl. “She did an outstanding job of moving her opponent and attacking her opponent’s backhand side. She has done an exceptional job all season in keeping the ball in play and hustling to extend points and outlast opponents. Her effort in reaching the award stand, earning a ninth place finish, and ending her season with a respectable 13-9 record, is remarkable.”
In the consolation quarter-finals, Essington downed Ali Muller of Aberdeen Roncalli, 10-5. She took out Mya Maxwell of Madison, 10-7, in the consolation semi-finals and faced Bohlen of Mitchell in the final match.
Five team members were eliminated during the first round of consolation play on Friday. Paige Johnson, number one singles, fell to Allison Einchacker of Sioux Falls Roosevelt, 10-4. Number two singles, Tatiana Stemsrud, dropped 10-4 to Cassandra Rickmann of Pierre. Jodi DeVaal, number three singles, lost to Kate Lundberg of Brandon Valley, 10-6, and her sister Jamie DeVaal, at number four singles, fell to Peyton Franke of Rapid City Central, 10-8. Sarah Jarman lost to Maddy VanderFeen of Sioux Falls Washington, 10-4, at number five singles.
“I felt bad for our seniors, Paige, Tatiana, Sarah, and Jamie,” Dahl said. “They each fought hard in their second day matches to be knocked out of the tournament. All had leads during their matches and just could not hold on. It is always tough to see seniors play their final matches in the state tournament, especially when these four have been out for tennis since 7th and 8th grade. Collectively, these four girls put 23 years into the girls tennis program. Kudos to them for their dedication and the way they kept their heads up after being eliminated and supported their younger teammate in her quest for a medal.”
The Lady Bulldogs finished 20th in the team standings with 37 points. Sioux Falls Lincoln was crowned the state champion with 646 points, and Rapid City Stevens was the runner-up with 582 points.
An awards night and potluck for the girls tennis team and their families is set for Tuesday, October 18, at 6 p.m. at the high school.
Halli Essington wins ninth place at State Tennis. Photo courtesy of South Dakota Public Broadcasting.