Phoebe Olson places third at West Region meet
Jamestown's Phoebe Olson will now turn her attention to next week's state tennis tournament in Grand Forks.
Jamestown's Phoebe Olson played a solid conference semifinal match Saturday, but Elizabeth Felderman was simply next level.
The Mandan senior was able to scoot past Jamestown's top singles player 6-3, 6-1 in the final four of this year's West Region girls tennis tournament played at Jamestown's Two Rivers Activity Center, before cruising over teammate Kate Kesler 6-0, 6-2 to win the conference singles championship.
Olson regrouped in the third-place pairing, turning away Dickinson freshman Valeria Bradley 6-4, 6-3. Felderman was the tournament's top seed, with Olson picked to finish fourth, Bradley second, and Kesler -- the tournament Cinderella -- sixth.
"Phoebe was disappointed," said coach and father Paul Olson. "Obviously, she wanted to beat Elizabeth and be a finalist. Phoebe played very well in the semis, but Elizabeth played a fantastic match and just beat her."
Olson was able to quickly put the loss behind her and focus on Dickinson's phenom underclassman: Bradley.
Bradley began the semifinals by sailing over the senior Kesler 6-3 in set No. 1. But Kesler battled back 6-1 and took a highly-contested third frame 6-4, possibly leaving Bradley a bit shellshocked heading into her bout with Olson.
The Dickinson freshman and the Jamestown junior battled to a nail-biting three sets earlier in the season, a match eventually won by Olson.
"Looking at a junior playing against a freshman, I think some of that came into play," coach Olson said. "Phoebe was able to collect herself and, again, played a very, very good match."
Kesler was the talk of Saturday's play. Mandan's No. 4 singles players cruised to second in the league tournament with wins over Legacy's Kristin Ness, Century's Ashley Kindem, Century's Blaike Zander, and Bradley.
West Region champion Mandan lost just a single set in three matches Thursday en route to the team championship.
"That just shows you the depth that Mandan has this year," Olson said. "They're a senior-laden team -- I think seven of their top eight players are seniors -- and, really, had it not been Kate for them in the finals, it could've been two or three other ones."
Zander wound up defeating Mandan's Lizzie Allan 7-5, 7-6(3) for fifth on Saturday, while St. Mary's Lauryn Hoesel defeated Minot's Morgan Sheller 6-3, 6-2 for seventh.
In the doubles tournament, Minot's Eden Olson and Sofia Egge defeated Mandan's Felderman and Breanna Helbling 6-1, 6-2 in the title match, Williston's Chesni Strand and Shelby Meyer topped Legacy's Camaryn Beasley and Sierra Knoll 4-6, 6-0, 6-4 for third, Century's Riley Lembke and Maya Kubsad topped Minot's Martine Hammer and Sidney Ressler 6-4, 6-2 for fifth and Mandan's Kylie Wieland and Payton Loerch defeated St. Mary's Mary Richter and Brooke Haas 6-3, 7-6(4) for seventh.
Phoebe Olson will now turn her attention to next week's state tennis tournament in Grand Forks. The singles championship will get underway on Friday.
"One of the great things about her is that she's a goal setter, and I know deep down inside she wants to go out and compete her hardest for a state championship," coach Olson said. "You've gotta win two matches on Friday to play on Saturday, and the goal's going to be to go out and win two on Friday and then see what Saturday brings for her."