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JHS tennis players head back out west for 2022 state tourney

Three members of the Jamestown High School tennis team qualified for the 2022 State Tennis Tournament.

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Jamestown's Luke LeFevre returns a serve during a match at Bolinger Court.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun
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JAMESTOWN — Tension and nerves made for an interesting start to the final round of the West Region Tennis Tournament for Kai Backen and Luke LeFevre.

Thankfully for the pair of Blue Jays, a win doesn't come at the start of the match.

Backen and LeFevre were facing off against Bismarck Legacy's Nathan Mathern and Cooper Miller. The pair of Blue Jays dropped the opening set 6-3 but then roared back to win the second 6-3.

That forced a rubber match.

"The match was very unpredictable since we made many unforced errors because we were scared of messing up shots," Backen, a junior for the Jamestown High School tennis team, said in reflection. "The funny thing though was that once we slammed a shot and had confidence, it seemed like the shots would always go in."

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LeFevre said his serve was on and his groundstrokes were solid in the final set. Backen was putting away volleys and the two just managed to put it all together in the third set.

"The last set was scary since it was tied up 1 to 1 and (LeFevre) and I were getting pretty heated since we lost that last set," Backen said. "I made sure to reset my brain and tried to help out (LeFevre) as well and we kept on hitting.

"When we were up 5-2 and it was 40-15 I felt nervous still but once (LeFevre) returned his serve and (the opponent) hit me an overhead I knew that this was the moment. I slammed it on the line and yelled “Let’s gooo!” and that’s how we won."

The pair of Blue Jays along with the Jays' No. 1 singles player, Mason Lunzman will travel back to Minot on Thursday for the 2022 State Tournament.

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Backen and LeFevre are first-timers to the state tournament. Lunzman has been to the state three times in his high school career.

"It'll be a fun trip," Lunzman said of heading up to the state tourney.

At State LeFevre, a long-time tennis player said he is looking forward to watching all of the high-quality tennis matches — one of which could be his one, based on who his doubles partner is.

jhs boys tennis lefevre from 091522.jpg
Jamestown's Luke LeFevre returns a serve during a match at Bolinger Court.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

"Kai communicates a lot, keeps a level head, and has a steady backhand," LeFevre said of his doubles partner. "We’re a good team because we know each other’s play styles well and we communicate well."

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Backen said the reason he started playing tennis was that his parents took him and his brother to play and they talked about how he was doing better than they expected.

"After that, my parents asked me if I wanted to play tennis and I was down to play," Backen said. "I also remember playing a lot of Wii Sports Tennis and I would have so much fun so maybe that also convinced me to play."

Last year Backen was the Jays' No. 7 singles player but through steady progression and practice, he has managed to claim the No. 2 spot this season.

"I am so happy that I climbed that far by putting in a bunch of hard work," Backen said.

Lunzman has also been putting in his fair share of reps this fall.

"I was feeling good before the matches I played and I really wanted to win my first one to start off the tournament," Lunzman said. "I was losing so I really wanted to keep working hard and try to come back and win but couldn’t pull it off.

Lunzman's freshman year he played singles but didn’t qualify for the 2019 State tournament as an individual. Last year as a junior he qualified to State in doubles with JHS 2022 grad Gage Orr. The duo placed fifth in doubles.

"In singles, you work with just yourself on the court which can be better or worse," Lunzman said. "In doubles, you've got someone there for you to help and they help you.

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"Last year I think it was really fun playing with Gage and making it as far as we did. But this year is also really fun, playing against the competition in singles."

Lunzman said he is hoping to end his high school tennis career as one of the State's top-five tennis players.

"I’m extremely proud of how Mason has handled himself this year," Ness said. "There were a lot of tough players in the conference at the No. 1 singles spot. All year he took some lumps but continued to improve, and kept a positive attitude. That all really showed in Minot."

Related Topics: JAMESTOWN BLUE JAYSJAMESTOWN HIGH SCHOOLPREP SPORTSBLUE JAYS TENNIS
Katie Ringer is a sports reporter for the Jamestown Sun. Katie joined the Sun staff in the summer of 2019 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire with a degree in journalism. She can be reached by email at kringer@jamestownsun.com or by phone at 701-952-8460.
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