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Girls tennis preview: Riders return with high expectations

The Grand Forks Red River girls tennis team has won 108 straight duals on its way to eight consecutive state championships. So it might be a little disheartening to the rest of the state when Red River coach Tim Wynne says this year's Roughrider ...

The Grand Forks Red River girls tennis team has won 108 straight duals on its way to eight consecutive state championships.

So it might be a little disheartening to the rest of the state when Red River coach Tim Wynne says this year's Roughrider team might be his best in his eight years with the program.

"Of all the years I've been coaching, I don't remember having four players who have been state individual champions," Wynne said. "I expect them to play up to a certain level. On paper, we should be good."

Wynne was referencing his two-time state singles champion, Callie Ronkowski, and three players who have won a state doubles title (Samantha Anderson, Lalangi Marasinghe and Mimi Yunker).

Marasinghe and Yunker became the youngest duo to win the state doubles title last year. Maransinghe was an eighth-grader and Yunker was a seventh-grader. Anderson was a state doubles winner in 2008 as an eighth-grader.

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With all of the returning standouts, Wynne expects some of his team's stiffest challenges to come during practice.

"I can't see many teams having the experience that we do," Wynne said. "The matches in practice and inter-squad competitions could be the most heated matches until the state tournament."

However, Wynne said the Riders have to be weary of getting their opponents' best each time out.

Red River starts the regular season Tuesday against Fargo South, a team expected to be Red River's top challenger in the region.

"These girls have to understand that when they go out and play there's a bulls-eye on them," Wynne said. "Any time you beat someone from Red River, it's going to be a feather in their cap. They have to bring intensity every time."

In addition to the hoard of returners, the Riders boast a pair of talented in seventh-graders in Alexis Caoili and Cindy Lim.

Lim won a 12-and-under national championship this summer in a USTA Rapid Rally event.

"Those two are pretty salty players who would be a Nos. 1 or 2 for a lot of teams in the conference," Wynne said. "They're not your basic seventh-graders. They're pretty veteran seventh-graders.

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"But that tells you the depth of our team this year that they're going to have a hard time breaking into our regular lineup."

Miller reports on sports. Reach him at (701) 780-1121; (800) 477-6572, ext. 121; or send e-mail to tmiller@gfherald.com .

GGF tennis at a glance:

GF Central

Coach: Tanner Beauchman.

2009 record: 1-8.

Key returners: Sr. Tiffany Severson; soph. Jadeyn Koppang; fr. Taylor Corbett; eighth-grader Katie Sween; fr. Shelby Regimbal; sr. Sarah Hervey.

Top newcomers: Eighth-grader Maddie Comeau.

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Coach Beauchman says: "We lost a big part of the team graduating our Nos. 1, 2 and 5 singles players. The big one was Megan Sween, who was a solid No. 1 for us. We're going to have a real young team. They have some varsity experience, but they're going to have to bump up the ladder a lot. It should be a learning year for a lot of them."

GF Red River

Coach: Tim Wynne.

2009 record: 13-0, won eighth straight state championship.

Key returners: Sr. Callie Ronkowski (state singles champion); soph. Samantha Anderson (third place at state singles); sr. Linnea Johnson (state singles qualifier); jr. Shirlene Luk (state doubles qualifier); sr. Emily Orr (state doubles qualifier); fr. Lalangi Marasinghe (state doubles champion); eighth-grader Mimi Yunker (state doubles champion); soph. Madison Hovland; eighth-grader Paige Relling; jr. Puja Thakker.

Top newcomers: Jr. Brittany Egeland; seventh-grader Alexis Caoili; seventh-grader Cindy Lim.

Coach Wynne says: "All these kids play a lot of tennis indoors in the winter time. It has been nice out, but it takes a while to get used to the outdoors. The more we get outside here, the more they'll get comfortable with the conditions."

EGF Senior High

Coach: Jim Wyatt.

2009 record: 6-6, lost to Thief River Falls in Section 8A championship.

Key returners: Sr. Jake Greenwood (state doubles qualifier); soph. Joel Ryan; sr. Shane Wasylow; soph. Cory Mack; soph. Blake Gaddie; sr. Scott Metzger; jr. Tyler Berglund.

Top newcomers: Eighth-grader Ty Misialek.

Related Topics: PREP SPORTSRED RIVERTENNIS
Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, tmiller@gfherald.com or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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