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Tigers win third straight MBC championship

New Richmond senior Emma Borgstrom slams down a shot during the two doubles semifinals at the Middle Border Conference tennis tournament at Osceola last Tuesday. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia

Over the past three years, the New Richmond girls tennis team has been unbeatable in the Middle Border Conference.

The Tigers locked up their third straight MBC championship last Tuesday by winning six of the seven flights at the 2017 MBC tournament, played at Osceola High School.

This is the third year where the overall MBC championship is decided by the combined points from the dual meet season and the conference tournament. The Tigers won this season with 39 of a possible 42 points. Amery finished second with 21 points.

This was the fourth year in a row where the Tigers have won the conference tournament.

The Tigers swept the championships in the singles half of the tournament. That success was led by senior Greta Bakke, who won her three straight conference championships at one singles. Bakke rolled through both of her matches, losing one game in each match.

"Greta rolled. She looked confident," said Tiger coach Denise Devereux.

Junior Anna Hop earned the conference championship in her first season with the team after changing over from volleyball. Hop easily handled the two singles competition, winning both of her matches by 6-2, 6-1 scores.

Tiger sophomore Teresa Tenner faced two major battles in both of her matches en route to the three singles title. In the semifinals, Tenner defeated Amery's Drew Meyer 6-4, 7-5. In the finals, Tenner faced top seed Sophie Danzinger of Mondovi.

"Teresa played an absolutely fabulous first set," Devereux said of Tenner's 6-1 win. Danzinger came back to win 6-2. The third set was a close battle, with Tenner winning 10-7.

New Richmond's Ari Devereux was the top seed at four singles and played like it. She won 6-2, 6-1 in the semifinals, before defeating Amery's Autumn Rivard 7-6, 6-1 in the championship match. Devereux showed nerves in the opening set, falling behind 3-0 before charging back to the win.

The Tigers were also champions in the top two doubles flights. Tiger sophomores Mia Bakke and Katey Eickhoff were the top seed at one doubles. After an opening bye, they drew Ellsworth in the semifinals. They also showed nerves in the opening games, but pulled things together for a 6-4, 6-1 win. They were much sharper in the finals, putting away a quality Amery team 6-2, 6-1.

New Richmond's Emma Borgstrom and Kerrigan Storie were 2016 conference champions at three doubles. They moved up a flight this season and added their second title. They defeated Amery in the semifinals. In the finals they played the second-seeded team from Baldwin-Woodville, with the Tigers winning 6-2, 6-3.

"They played really well against Baldwin-Woodville. They did a really nice job of angling their shots," Devereux said.

The only loss in the tournament for the Tigers came in the three doubles semifinals, where Margo Gauper and Katrina Riba lost to Baldwin-Woodville, which went on to the meet championship. The Tigers came back to take third place, but it was an immense battle. They won the first set 6-4 before losing the second set in a tie-breaker. They got on a roll in the third set, winning 10-2.

"They wanted it so badly. Katrina worked so hard for that position (on the three doubles team)," Devereux said.

The Tigers finished their regular season with a momentous win on Thursday. It has been a number of years since the Tigers beat Hudson, but they did it this year, winning 4-3. Several of the wins were important for the seeding in this week's WIAA tournaments.

Bakke, Hop and Tenner all were convincing in their singles wins. Tenner defeated an opponent who topped Eau Claire Memorial's three singles player at the Big Rivers Conference tournament, which enhanced her seeding position greatly. At four singles and one doubles, the Tigers lost against BRC champions.

The final win for the Tigers came at three doubles, where Riba and Gauper won 6-4, 6-4.

This week, the Tigers are competing in the WIAA Division 1 tournaments. They played at subsectionals on Monday, with sectionals scheduled for Wednesday.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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