Editor's note: This is the fourth installment of a series in which the Grand Forks Herald's veteran sports staff ranks their top five memorable moments. Herald sports writer Greg DeVillers begins his list with his No. 5 memorable moment.
What Liza Wischer accomplished as a high school tennis player can’t be documented in one or two matches she played.
Over the course of six seasons, the 2007 Grand Forks Red River graduate dominated a sport like few, if any, athletes have dominated before or since.
You hear people sometimes saying “has that ever been done before,’’ or “that will never happen again.’’ My response usually is never say never.
In the case of Wischer, I think it’s safe to say: That will never happen again.
Over her six seasons of varsity tennis, Wischer’s achievements included:
Becoming the first and only six-time state tennis singles champion in North Dakota;
Posting a 129-0 career singles record; including doubles, Wischer was 147-1;
Playing first singles on a team that not only won six state championships, but posted a perfect 82-0 record in that span.
Wischer made an immediate impact.
On a veteran that team was runner-up in the 2001 state tournament, Wischer opened the 2002 season by earning the No. 2 singles position. Midway through that season, she was up to the No. 1 spot and the then-seventh grader went on to cap a perfect season by beating Bismarck Century junior Jenna Larson 7-5, 6-1 in the state singles final.
That started a run of perfection with only one blemish. As an eighth grader Wischer suffered her only high school loss while playing a doubles match. Grand Forks Central’s Erica Fredstrom and Emily Purpur beat the Liza Wischer-Brynne Wischer sister team 11-9 in a dual.
As Wischer got older, she became more dominant. A one-sport athlete at Red River, Wischer dedicated herself to tennis.
“She gets up at 6:30 in the morning to go hit and run three miles,’’ Red River coach Tim Wynne said during her senior season. “She’s back hitting at 1:30 in the afternoon. She goes to practice, then she’s hitting again at 6:30 at night. She does that 4-5 nights a week. Liza is a good athlete, but her real gift is her tenacity.’’
As a junior, Wischer swept every singles match in straight sets.
As a senior, she again swept every singles match in straight sets. In more than half of her 21 singles matches that season, Wischer won by 6-0, 6-0 shutouts. Her closest match was in the state singles final. Wischer scored a 6-2, 6-4 win against teammate Callie Ronkowski, who won the state singles title the next two seasons.
“I can’t imagine anyone being more dominant in a team or individual sport than Liza was this year,’’ Wynne said after Wischer’s prep career was over.
Tennis was a family success. Brynne won a pair of state doubles championships. Younger brother Gregory won two singles and two doubles state championships.
But nobody could match what Liza Wischer achieved -- neither within her own family nor in the history of the state.
Herald Top 5 memories
5. Red River's Liza Wischer dominated like few, if any, have