After the disappointment of falling in the American Legion State Baseball finals this summer wore off, Mason Lunzman and Gage Orr started working toward another shared goal.
The two Jamestown High School tennis players managed to make at least part of the new goal a reality.
"With it being Gage's senior year, he and I really wanted to get to state with the team," Lunzman said. "(That) didn’t go as we wanted but we just had to forget about that and focus on beating the next doubles team ahead of us,"
Orr and Lunzman, the Jays' No. 1 doubles duo, were the only two representatives of the 2021 Blue Jay tennis squad to make it to the state tournament held in Grand Forks Oct. 8-9. The Blue Jays missed the state tournament's team competition this season.
Orr and Lunzman went 2-1 on Friday and 1-2 on Saturday to wind up in sixth-place.
Saylor Kuenzel and Espen Schneider took the doubles team title with a dominating 6-1, 6-1 win over Bismarck Legacy's Jay Moylan and Anthony Janes.
Orr and Lunzman came in as the West's fifth-seeded doubles team and faced off against a No. 4 seed out of Fargo Davies. The Blue Jay duo easily took the first match, downing the Davies' duo 6-4, 6-2. Lunzman said the two started off a little slow, but after the nerves went away, there was no stopping the two Jays.
"Honestly during our first game at State, I think that was the peak of our performance all year," Orr said. "I've never seen him hit his serves so hard and it seemed like 90% of them went in. We were both confident at the net and our overheads at mid-court. Those were key factors in getting the win against Davies."
Minot's Zach and Aidan Diehl defeated Orr and Lunzman 6-4, 6-1 in the second round. Zach, the Magicians' No. 1, topped Orr 6-0, 6-0 in singles on Sept. 30. At the No. 2 spot of the same dual, Aidan defeated Lunzman 3-6, 6-3, 6-0. The Jays fell 0-9 to the Magicians to end the regular season.
"After losing our second match against Minot, we really wanted to win our next to get to Saturday," Lunzman said. "We were happy to make it to State," Lunzman said. "We went into the tournament wanting to win some matches and we did so we are happy about that.
"We were hoping to get that fifth-place spot but we are still not upset about getting sixth."
Orr said beating Mandan in three sets to get to the consolation finals was a highlight of the tourney. The Jays had faced the Braves three times throughout the season and lost all three in the third set.
Lunzman was the Jays' No. 2 all season. The junior managed a 1-5 singles season record while Orr, the Jays' No. 1, went 2-4. As a duo, Orr and Lunzman were split at 3-3.
"At the beginning of the season we weren’t doing too great together but once we played more matches with each other we got a lot better," Lunzman said. "We really stepped up our game when WDAs came."
In the opening round of the WDA tournament, Orr and Lunzman served up a convincing 6-2, 6-0 win over Bismarck Century's Travis Metzger and Tyler Puliafico.
While Minot's Colby Opp and Grayson Schaeffer defeated the Jamestown duo 6-4, 2-6 3-6 in the WDA quarterfinals, the duo came back to get a 6-2, 6-3 win over Bismarck's Isaiah Koch and Adam Vasichek to advance to the state tourney.
The trip to the tourney was aided by Lunzman's hard serves and Orr's overheads. Lunzman commended the senior's serving, netplay and staying in points. Lunzman and Orr both said the connection shared by one another through years of playing sports also aided a tight performance up in Grand Forks.
"Mason and I have been playing sports together since we were young and we just know each other at this point," Orr said. "When I got the chance to play doubles this year with him, I knew we could do something good.
"From playing baseball to then on the tennis court, we just had trust in each other and chemistry knowing who’s ball was who’s without even thinking. With him being a lefty, it is a huge advantage when playing doubles. His service game, I think, is one of the best in the west. Also, he had a strong groundstroke game and can put balls away at the net."
Lunzman said he was proud of the fact that he was the team's No. 2 spot holder and to have made it to the state tournament with Orr one final time. Lunzman said he has learned more about the game and that he appreciates having a coach like John Ness to learn from.
"I didn’t know how tennis was going to end and didn’t know what to expect," Orr said. "I wanted to go to state as a team but that didn't happen. I definitely didn’t think Mason and I's doubles would end this well but I’m happy with the way it did."
Class A State Tennis Tournament
Match 1: Orr/Lunzman def. Simle-Askew/Sullivan (Fargo Davies) 6-4, 6-2
Match 2: Zach Diehl/Aidan Diehl (Minot), def. Orr/Lunzman 6-4, 6-1
Match 3: Orr/Lunzman def. Anderson/Salonen (Fargo Shanley) 2-6, 6-3, 7-5
Match 4: Orr/Lunzman def. Karter Hatzenbuhler/Brady Helbling (Mandan) 5-7, 6-2, 6-1
Match 5: Zeltinger/Kringlie (Valley City) def. Orr/Lunzman 6-3, 4-6