By Parker Knox
Vermillion High’s tennis team didn’t enjoy a lot of success amid the powerhouse teams from the state’s large schools during the state tournament in Sioux Falls last weekend, but the Tanagers did come up with a pair of wins, and Jacob Ford was involved in both of them.
Playing in the third flight of singles, Ford, after a second-round loss to Lane Culey of Rapid City Stevens, 6-0, 6-1, came up with a 10-6 victory over Christian Olson, Huron, 10-6, in the third round of the consolation bracket. Ford thus advanced to the consolation semifinals where he lost to Rapid City Central’s John Robidoux, 10-6.
Ford teamed with Will Card in the second flight of doubles. The Tanager duo lost a competitive first-round match to Rapid City Central’s team of Norlin and Robidoux, 7-6 (3), 6-1, but then rebounded with a consolation first-round victory, 10-8, over the Crawford-Bien team from Brookings. Card and Ford then lost in the second consolation round to Martin and Monson of Aberdeen Roncalli, 10-7.
Otherwise it was a case of two-and-done for Tanager players. Card at No. 1 singles, David Day at No. 2, Kevin Helenurm in the fourth flight, Mark Helenurm in the fifth and Joe Swanson at No. 6 all lost their first two matches and were eliminated. The same was true for Day-Helenurm at No. 1 doubles and Helenurm-Swanson at No. 3 doubles.
In singles play Card lost to Logan Barr, Roosevelt, 6-0, 6-0, and to Logan Meyer, Huron, 10-2. Day fell to Chuck Tang, Stevens, 6-0, 6-0, and to Vlad Chilom, Brookings, 10-1. Mark Helenurm’s losses were to Ethan Elbers, Washington, 6-2, 6-1, and to Blake Meyer, Huron, 10-1. Kevin Helenurm was beaten by Jake Moran, O’Gorman, 6-0, 6-1, and Aiden Hartwig, Washington, 10-2. Swanson fell victim to Isaiah Wilhauer, Aberdeen Roncalli, 6-1, 6-0, and Nick Bien, Brookings, 10-1.
The Day-Helenurm doubles duo lost to Cherry-Iwan, Rapid City Central, 6-0, 6-1, and to Mashell-Zvorak, Spearfish. Helenurm-Swanson lost to Feehan-Olson, Stevens, 6-1, 6-2, and to Shindler-Fanta, Yankton, 10-7.
Watertown wrestled the state team championship away from where it usually goes – Sioux Falls or Rapid City – with 604 team points to Rapid City Stevens’ 580. The Tanager players accumulated 16 team points.