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BOYS TENNIS: Red River wins another state title

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sports Grand Forks, 58203
Grand Forks North Dakota 375 2nd Ave. N. 58203

FARGO - West Fargo threw a different lineup at Grand Forks Red River, but in the end, it wasn't enough to deny the Roughriders of another state championship.

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Red River topped the Packers 5-0 during the North Dakota boys tennis team dual state championship match on Friday at Courts Plus.

The title is Red River's 16th straight dating back to 1998.

"I'm very proud of how the guys played, and the championship is very special," Red River head coach Greg LaDouceur said.

The Roughriders (14-0) never dropped a singles or doubles match in team competition this fall.

"Every match, the entire year, we just focused on playing our best tennis," Red River junior Greg Wischer said. "It has really turned out well for us."

Wischer played No. 1 singles and defeated West Fargo's Nick Sikorski 6-0, 6-0.

The Packers (17-3) loaded up at doubles in hopes of avenging last week's 5-0 loss to Red River in the East Region team dual championship.

"They threw a different lineup at us," LaDouceur said. "We thought they might go heavy in doubles. As a coach, you want to find three wins, but it is very gratifying to be able to beat them at all five spots when they loaded up like they did in doubles."

Juniors Brady Ballwebber and Keyan Farahmand played No. 1 doubles for West Fargo and locked up with Red River's No. 1 combo of Andre Caoili and Jake Kuhlman. Caoili and Kuhlman are the defending state doubles champions, but were defeated by Ballweber and Farahmand in the East Region doubles championship last week.

Ballweber and Farahmand took the first set 6-3, but Caoili and Kuhlman recovered to force a decisive third set. After falling behind 3-0, Caoili and Kuhlman battled back for a 6-4 win to seal Red River's sweep.

"I have always told the boys to trust me and I'll do what is best for them," West Fargo head coach Chad Anderson said. "When we picked our lineup at the East Region tournament, this was the lineup I had in mind to play at state. Whether or not we would get that far, that was always the big question. I felt this was a pretty good lineup for us because we are playing such great tennis."

Friday marked the first time in school history West Fargo advanced to play in a team dual state championship match.

"We have to hold our heads high," Anderson said. "We played very well. It might not have happened (Friday), but hopefully our performance sets up a good showing in the individual tournament."

The singles and doubles tournaments conclude today at Courts Plus.

"This match was a lot closer than the score indicated," Wischer said. "There were a lot of close points in a lot of the matches. We were fortunate to come away with the victory, and every player came out and performed to the best of their abilities."

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