'It'll be good:' Blue Jays have a coach, set to start Friday

The Jamestown High School tennis team underwent some personnel changes this spring.

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Isabel LeFevre returns a serve during a Blue Jays tennis practice Tuesday, April 5, 2022.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

JAMESTOWN — The start to the 2023 Jamestown High School girls tennis season has been anything but conventional.

First off, they didn't have an official coach until a week after the season started.

"When the season was kind of rolling in and it was made known that they were looking for a coach, I had a few people from the tennis community reach out and see if I would be interested," recently hired head coach Brock Burkett said. "I kind of hemmed and hawed a little bit but I wanted to make sure that the program was taken care of and would be around for future girls tennis players.

"The conversation with Mr. Roaldson really happened last Monday, April 10 and that got the ball rolling. Officially I signed all the paperwork last Wednesday."

Burkett played tennis for the Blue Jays all the way through his high school career. The four-year letter-winner took a couple of trips to the North Dakota State Tennis Championships as a team and individual.


"I've been involved in the local tennis community because my kids have gotten involved with the sport," Burkett said. "My oldest son (Braxton) plays on the high school team and I re-found my passion for the sport a couple of years ago. I try and make sure we are getting to the courts and make sure I am able to compete with my kids.

"I am a pretty passionate person about sports," he said. "Not just the winning and losing aspects but what sports can do for you and the opportunities that you get through high school and set up new opportunities."

Since he stepped into the coaching role last week, Burkett has been honing in on the basics since — as a whole — there is not much experience coming back for the Blue Jay squad.

'We come into this year with no seniors on the team," Burkett said. "We're really young — juniors Hana Lang and Isabel LeFevre saw quite a bit of varsity time last year and then freshmen Mylee Michel and Elise Roberts will be up at the top of our lineup."

The Blue Jays lost five seniors to graduation last spring including their No. 1 singles player, Phoebe Olson.

Olson wound up defeating Mandan's Sophia Felderman 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-1 to claim the Blue Jays' first individual regional title since 1991 last spring. Olson was the first player out of Jamestown's program to win a West Region title.

Olson wrapped up her fourth state tournament appearance as the 2022 Class A State Tennis singles championship runner-up. Olson finished the season at 24-2 in singles matches, her only two losses came against 2022 State Individual Champion Mimi Gu.

After leaving Jamestown, Olson went on to compete at Hartwick College in New York. She was named Empire Eight Conference Women's Tennis Rookie of the Year.


It's going to be a whole new type of season without their longtime No. 1 but Burkett said he thinks the girls are ready for match play and eager to see what they can do on the court.

The Blue Jays are set to open up the season on April 21 with a conference match against Williston. The Jays will finish the weekend with a match in Dickinson.

"The first week and a half has been a lot of fun — I've really enjoyed it," Burkett said. "Obviously I am filling the immediate need first and then continuing to do what I can to help the program.

"I'm not going to say this is a one-year-and-done situation and I am not going to say I am going to be here for 50 years but certainly I have some knowledge and guidance I can provide and as long as they enjoy it and I enjoy it and we're clicking, everything is going to be good."

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 or by phone at 701-952-8460.
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