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STATE TENNIS: Red River junior takes 23-0 record into state tournament

Greg Wischer

Greg Wischer is a few teammates away from a perfect record in his high school tennis career.

The Grand Forks Red River junior takes a 23-0 record into the North Dakota state tournament, which runs Thursday through Saturday in Fargo. That has improved Wischer's career mark to 124-4.

All four of those losses were in postseason play. All four were at the hands of his Roughrider teammates.

"When you look at that, it is pretty amazing," Wischer said.

"One of my goals when I was playing doubles in seventh grade was to never lose to anybody but Red River kids. I knew it would be difficult then to beat (then-senior teammates) Jake LaDouceur and Philip Yunker. So that's how it started."

Wischer and teammate Joey Anderson lost twice in doubles to the LaDouceur-Yunker doubles team in 2009. Last season, Anderson beat Wischer twice in singles, in the East Region and state title matches. Otherwise, Wischer's record is spotless. And other Roughriders have had similar success.

Anderson, a senior, is 23-1 this season and 159-5 for his career. Three of the losses were to Roughriders, including a singles setback to Wischer in the East Region final last week. And senior Andre Coaili, 22-1 this season, is 125-5 in his career with three of the losses to Red River teammates.

For the Roughriders, who have won 15 consecutive state team championships and 187 consecutive duals, more setbacks have been suffered in practices than in matches.

"You get used to getting beat in practices," Wischer said. "We have a lot of good players. It gets to the point where practices are harder than matches. That makes us better."

Competitive practices have translated into state titles.

Anderson and Wischer teamed to win two straight doubles state championships before Anderson beat Wischer in the singles final last season. Replacing them as state doubles champions were Coaili and Jake Kuhlman, a freshman this season.

"Our kids put a lot of time into their game," Red River coach Greg LaDouceur said. "These definitely are some of the better players who have gone through during this stretch of success Red River has had.

"They play hard in practice. Sometimes it gets a little heated. But they know they get better by playing each other."

Red River, which hasn't lost a match in duals all year, figures to be the favorite to repeat. Individually, LaDouceur said, there are Riders who are favorites, but with no guarantees.

"Joey and Greg can be beat, but I'd say they have to be favorites to meet again in the (singles) final," LaDouceur said. "Jake and Andre are one of the doubles favorites. But there are a lot of loaded doubles teams. The doubles bracket is wide open."

Knights increase numbers

In addition to Grand Forks Central returning to the state dual tournament for the sixth consecutive year, the Knights have advanced more than one position to state individual tournaments for the first time since 2010.

Dallas Chambers takes the East Region's No. 7 seed to the state singles tournament, while the Andrew Thompson-Kyle Folson doubles team finished fourth in the regional.

All three are juniors. The 6-5 Knights don't have a senior in their lineup.

"It shows that we're moving forward," GFC coach Max Weisser said. "We're a deeper team, and it showed at the regional."

Weisser said both Chambers and the Thompson-Folson team have good shots to place at state. "I think eight doubles teams could win state, and ours is one of them," Weisser said. "It's a tough doubles draw. I think Dallas has a good draw. He's played well all year."

DeVillers reports on sports. Call him at (701) 780-1128; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1128; or send e-mail to gdevillers@gfherald.com.

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