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Sheyenne's Monti Knewtson tops Red River's Shaelyn Johnson for East Region tennis singles title

FARGO — Monti Knewtson finally won her first East Region individual tennis championship — as a freshman, as in she may contending for a few more titles.

"She's been my No. 1 singles player since seventh grade," said West Fargo Sheyenne tennis coach Chad Anderson, who watched Knewtson defeat fellow freshman Shaelyn Johnson of Grand Forks Red River 6-4, 6-3 in Saturday's championship match at Courts Plus.

As a seventh grader, Knewtson placed second in the East Region and second at the state tournament. As an eighth grader, she placed runner-up again in the East Region and third at state.

Now the goal is to win her first title at next week's state tournament in Grand Forks.

"But winning a team state championship is the first goal," said Knewtson, who along with her teammates got beat by Red River for the East Region team championship last Thursday, ending Sheyenne's 30-match win streak.

After knocking Red River off its throne last year with East Region and state championship wins, Sheyenne got a taste of what it felt like to be dethroned on Thursday.

"We all knew there were some very close matches," Knewtson said, referring to the 4-1 loss to Red River in which four of the five matches went three sets. "We told each other we need to stay positive."

That kind of attitude hasn't been a problem for Knewtson, according to Anderson.

"I call her 'Miss Sunshine,'" Anderson said. "She is always smiling. And she has such a great attitude that carries over to the court."

Saturday marked the fourth time Knewtson and Johnson faced each other this year. Knewtson won for the third time.

"It's high competition," Johnson said of her matches with Knewtson. "We just go out and play our hardest. It's fun."

What was especially fun for Johnson was being part of Red River's team win over Sheyenne on Thursday.

"That really boosted our confidence and we're really looking forward to state," Johnson said.

Also looking forward to state are Red River's Maddie Johnson and Maddie Anderson, two seniors who won Saturday's East Region doubles championship. The duo, which won last year's state doubles championship, defeated Reagan Ingstad and Cali Halgrimson of Valley City 6-1, 6-2 in the title match.

"It has been a mediocre season for us," Anderson said. "But we really came together today."

RESULTS

East Region individual tournament

Saturday, May 27

Singles Championship

Semifinals

Shaelyn Johnson, Grand Forks Red River, def. Preeti Chemiti, West Fargo Sheyenne, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3; Monti Knewtson, West Fargo Sheyenne, def. Mimi Gu, West Fargo Sheyenne, 6-3, 2-6, 6-0.

Third place

Preeti Chemiti, Sheyenne, def. Mimi Gu, Sheyenne, 7-6 (7-1), 7-5

Championship

Monti Knewtson, Sheyenne, def. Shaelyn Johnson, Red River, 6-4, 6-3

Singles consolation

Quarterfinals

Jenna Forknell, Fargo Davies, def. Anna Caoili, Red River, 7-5, 6-4; Dina Rabadi, Shanley, def. Sophie Welsh, Grand Forks Central, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3; Breanna McDonald, Valley City, def. Sophie Keelin, Fargo Shanley, 6-3, 6-3; Brooke Kennelly, Red River, def. Katie Stauss, Grand Forks Central, 6-3, 6-2.

State qualifiers

Jenna Forknell, Davies, def. Dina Rabadi, Shanley, 6-1, 6-4; Breanna McDonald, Valley City, def. Brooke Kennelly, Red River, 6-4, 5-7, 6-1.

Seventh place

Dina Rabadi, Shanley, def. Brooke Kennelly, Red River, 6-2, 6-2.

Fifth place

Jenna Forknell, Davies, def. Breanna McDonald, Valley City, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4

Doubles championship

Semifinals

R. Ingstad-C. Halgrimson, Valley City, def. P. Chemiti-A. McIntosh, Sheyenne, 6-2, 7-5; M. Anderson-M. Johnson, Red River, def. I. Thiner-C. Johnson, Fargo South, 6-2, 6-4.

Third place

I. Thiner-C. Johnson, South, def. P. Chemiti-A. McIntosh, Sheyenne, 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 6-4

Championship

M. Anderson-M. Johnson, Red River, def. R. Ingstad-C. Halgrimson, Valley City, 6-1, 6-2

Doubles consolation

Quarterfinals

A. Frie-K. Aune, Shanley, def. L. Dobrinz-K. College, Sheyenne, 6-2, 6-1; H. Manz-T. Nellermoe, Shanley, def. I. Nankivel-G. Faiman, West Fargo, 6-0, 6-1; I. Krogh-K. Johnson, Red River, def. H. Heshmat-M Wanzek, Fargo Davies, 6-1, 1-6, 6-2; B. Bell-M. Bell, Wahpeton, def. B. Regimbal-G. Spicer, Grand Forks Central, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.

State qualifiers

A. Frie-K. Aune, Shanley, def. H. Manz-T. Nellermoe, Shanley, 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 7-6 (7-3); I. Korgh-K. Johnson, Red River def. B. Bell-M. Bell, Wahpeton, 6-3, 6-2.

Seventh place

H. Manz-T. Nellermoe, Shanley def. B. Bell-M. Bell, Wahpeton, 7-5, 6-2

Fifth place

A. Frie-K. Aune, Shanley, def. I. Korgh-K. Johnson, Red River, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3).

Awards

All-Eastern Dakota Conference team

Fargo Davies: Jenna Forknell.

Fargo South: Isabel Thiner, Claire Johnson.

Grand Forks Red River: Maddie Anderson, Maddie Johnson, Shaelyn Johnson.

Fargo Shanley: Hannah Manz, Anna Frie.

Valley City: Reagan Ingstad, Cali Halmgrimson.

West Fargo Sheyenne: Monti Knewtson, Preeti Chemiti, Pooja Chemiti.

Grand Forks Central: Katie Stauss.

Coach of the year: Matt Nelson, Valley City.

Outstanding senior athletes: Maddie Anderson, Red River; Isabel Thiner, Fargo South; Jenna Forknell, Fargo Davies.

Kevin Schnepf
Kevin Schnepf is the sports editor for The Forum. He has been working at The Forum since 1986.
(701) 241-5549
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