Riders dominate tennis finals
Callie Ronkowski has two North Dakota state singles titles. Mimi Yunker has a state doubles title and an East Region singles title. Saturday belonged to the third member of Grand Forks Red River's trio of standout singles players. Sophomore Sammy...
Callie Ronkowski has two North Dakota state singles titles.
Mimi Yunker has a state doubles title and an East Region singles title.
Saturday belonged to the third member of Grand Forks Red River's trio of standout singles players.
Sophomore Sammy Anderson won her first state singles title in a hot and muggy Center Court Fitness Club, knocking off Yunker, her teammate, 6-4, 6-2 in the championship.
The singles final was a rematch of the East Region championship, which was played one week ago on the exact same court. Yunker, an eighth grader, won that in straight sets.
This time, Anderson overcame some early jitters and used an aggressive game plan to come away on top. Anderson trailed 4-3 in the opening set before winning nine of the last 11 games in the match.
"It feels amazing," Anderson said. "I knew that in the semis and the finals things would be tough, because this is the toughest competition out here."
In the semifinals, Anderson defeated West Region champ Sarah Janes of Bismarck Century in straight sets to advance to the final. Yunker beat Ronkowski 6-4, 6-3 in the other semifinal, ending the senior's bid at a third straight singles crown.
Anderson said there were slight differences between the East Region championship and the state championship, but added there's no way of knowing who will come out on top.
"Mimi and I both brought our games both times we played," Anderson said. "It's back and forth with us. You never know who is going to win."
Ronkowski beat Janes 6-4, 6-0 to earn third place, placing the Roughriders 1-2-3 in the singles bracket.
Red River also came away with the doubles title.
Playing two courts down from Anderson and Yunker, junior Shirlene Luk and freshman Lalangi Marasinghe closed out their state championship about 10 minutes after Anderson.
Luk and Marasinghe staved off a set point against them in the first set and went on to win 7-6, 6-4 over West Region doubles champs Megan Ryckman and Katie Slemin of Williston.
It was the second straight doubles title for Marasinghe, who won with Yunker last year, and it was the first state championship for Luk.
"It feels really good," Luk said. "I think we were playing really tight right away. It's hard not to when you are playing in the state championship."
Marasinghe added: "We play better when we are loose and relaxed, so our coaches were trying to get us to relax out there."
Reach Schlossman at (701) 780-1129; (800) 477-6572, ext. 129; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .