Some of the best tennis programs in the state converge on Kalispell today and Friday for the Northwestern A divisional tennis tournament at Flathead Valley Community College.
The stakes are high as the top four singles winners and doubles teams will adavance to the state tournamnet in Billings.
Polson, which has won seven straight girls divisional titles and two straight on the boys side, enters today’s Northwestern A divisional tennis meet as the prohibitive favorites once again.
Though, there’s plenty of competition this year.
Columbia Falls’ Emily Getts enters as the tournament favorite in girls singles, having breezed through the conference season nearly untouched. Getts was second in her freshman year last season to two-time divisional champ Whitney Zimmerman of Polson.
Without Zimmerman this season, Polson’s girls don’t enter divisional week with as large a shadow they have in year’s past, but they still have loads of talent. Each of their singles players will challenge for a spot at state and their double teams have been solid this season.
“It’s going to be close between us and Whitefish,” Polson coach Brady Hislop said.
The Bulldogs, who came within a few points of Polson for a divisional title last year, should push the Pirates again this week.
Sloan Ellis and Simone Craft lead the singles for Whitefish and the team of Heather Luedke and Caroline Carbo are the top doubles pairing.
“We’re going to compete,” Whitefish coach Patrick Dryden said. “Do everything we can to try to stop the Polson juggernaut.”
Polson looks dominant on the boys side.
Pirates No. 1 singles player Brady Hislop won the divisional title two seasons ago, ceding the championship to teammate Dylan McCrumb last season. In total, the Pirates have four state qualifiers returning this season, three of which placed a year ago.
McCrumb has shifted his focus from singles to No. 1 doubles, where with the help of Layne Zimmerman, he enters as a favorite again this season.
The tournament starts with singles play at 9:30 a.m. at the FVCC courts. Doubles play will follow. Championship rounds will be held Friday.