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BOYS TENNIS: Red River's Wischer repeats as singles champion at N.D. state tournament

Greg Wischer doesn't like losing. The Grand Forks Red River senior hasn't done a lot of it. Wischer has learned from his rare setbacks, however. The lessons paid off Saturday when he repeated as singles champion in the North Dakota boys high scho...

Red River High School
Red River High School

Greg Wischer doesn’t like losing. The Grand Forks Red River senior hasn’t done a lot of it. Wischer has learned from his rare setbacks, however.

The lessons paid off Saturday when he repeated as singles champion in the North Dakota boys high school tennis tournament. In an all-Red River final, Wischer rallied to beat sophomore Jake Kuhlman 2-6, 6-3, 6-0.

In doubles, West Fargo’s Brady Bollweber and Keyan Farahmand also repeated. The seniors beat the Grand Forks Central senior duo of Kyle Folson and Andrew Thompson 6-1, 6-3 in the championship.

Wischer suffered just one loss in the past two seasons. That was a three-set loss in the East Region final to Kuhlman last weekend, when Wischer couldn’t hold a 5-2 advantage in the third set.

“That was the best thing that could have happened to me,’’ Wischer said. “It helped me re-focus for state. It was a wakeup call for me.

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“And it took the pressure off me. Even if I was defending state champion, Jake was the big dog after he beat me.’’

Ironically, both Wischer and Kuhlman finished the season with one loss, that coming at the hands of each other.

Kuhlman started the state title match looking like an undefeated season was in his grasp. After winning the first set, he was up 3-2 in the second. At that point, “I was confident,’’ Kuhlman said. “I was playing well. But Greg started figuring things out, what he had to do.

“It’s disappointing. But I’ll come back strong next season.’’

Wischer finished his prep career with a flourish, winning 10 straight games to close out the match. State title point came on a deep lob that Kuhlman couldn’t return.

“I didn’t know that at the time,’’ Wischer said of the 10 straight games won. “You just look at shot to shot, point to point. But that is pretty unbelievable.

“Jake kept moving me around with his shots (early in the match). He’s difficult to play when he’s on. He made it real difficult for me. I had to be more aggressive, and I had to be more consistent with my shots.’’

Wischer finished his career with four state titles, having teamed with Joey Anderson to win doubles championships in 2010-11. Ironically, in his six varsity seasons, Wischer said, the only defeats he ever suffered were to Red River opponents.

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Packers repeat

Ballweber and Farahmand lost just one doubles match this season, that to Wischer and Kuhlman. Otherwise, they swept every opponent in straight sets.

They never considered splitting up the team and playing in singles.

“It was always playing doubles again,’’ Farahmand said. “Having two state doubles titles, that’s a lot better than having one title and maybe getting a third in singles. We wanted to repeat.’’

After the Packers won the first set, they went up 3-1 in the second, only to see Folson and Thompson rally to a 3-3 tie.

“They got some momentum at that point,’’ Ballweber said. “They’re a good team. They can build off that. We just started to attack the net more.’’

Ballweber wound up putting away the final point – a reverse from a year again when Farahmand scored the title-clinching point.

“We were the underdogs,’’ Folson said. “They’re a great doubles team. I thought we could play better, though. We weren’t able to capitalize on big points.’’

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Grand Forks had two other placers in doubles. Central’s Andy Manske and Christian Wedin finished fourth, while the Roughriders’ Andrew Godon and Mitchell Kuhlman finished fifth. 

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