Well, it is Red River
Bishop Ryan senior Isaac Massey’s career with the Minot High School tennis team will end this week at the State Tournament in Fargo.
Massey is the No. 3 seed out of the West Region in the singles tournament and one of the Magicians’ doubles players in the team tournament.
The No. 4 Magicians (6-6) open with 15-time defending state champion and East Region No. 1 Grand Forks Red River (11-0) in the team bracket. Massey plays a major role in team points and would like to close his career with what would likely be the biggest upset in North Dakota tennis history, but he knows very well what the Roughriders do.
“Everyone in the state, every single team in the state that has to go play Red River, they know there’s just no way to beat them,” Massey said. “They’re just so deep. I mean, shoot, their 10 player is probably just as good as their 4 player. Everybody goes into that match, they know they’re not gonna win, but they just try to get experience.”
MHS coach Scott DeLorme stops shy of ever predicting a loss, but also doesn’t spend much time dreaming.
“We’ve already talked that our goal to finish in fifth place,” DeLorme said. “There’s a reason they haven’t lost since 1997 and you have to be ready for that so our goal is just to make them work and make them at least earn the win and go from there, and play (West No. 2) Mandan or (East No. 3) Fargo South in the next round.”
West Region singles champion and MHS junior Dustin Foster may face the Roughriders’ top two players before the three-day event is over. Foster will likely open with Red River No. 1 Greg Wischer, the East singles champion, when the teams square off at 1 p.m. today.
If Foster advances through the first two rounds of the singles tournament, he will face defending state champion and Red River No. 2 Joey Anderson in a semifinal Saturday.
Wischer beat Anderson 6-3, 7-6 (6) in the East singles championship last week.
“It’s the state tournament and it’s supposed to be really windy so that could play to our favor,” Foster said, “but we’re just gonna go out and play hard and see what happens.
“Right now, my goal’s just to make the semifinals and if I do that I’ll play the defending champion, so that’ll be a great opportunity.”
Foster said he’s carrying a lot of confidence, especially in his serve and baseline stroke, after winning the West title over Mandan’s Brandon Schaner 6-2, 6-3. Massey is the West No. 3 in the singles tournament, which starts along with the doubles tournament at 1 p.m. Friday. Massey will face East No. 6 Andrew Godon of Red River. Foster opens with East No. 8 Ben Mostad of North.
“They can both definitely win the first match and then in the second round Dustin has a great chance of getting by,” DeLorme said. “Isaac will have to play awfully well that second round to win two in a row, but he’s very capable. On the right day, he can.”
The Magicians have one team in the doubles tournament. Junior Drew Thomas and sophomore Ty Nygaard are the No. 8 seed and face West Fargo No. 1 Brady Ballweber/Keyan Farahmand.
MHS senior David Hurteau joins Massey for their final high school tournaments with a team that played well despite lower expectations than usual.
“We knew coming in it was a different team than we’ve had in the past and we relied heavily on Dustin and Isaac right from the start,” DeLorme said, “and they did everything we asked them too. And then last weekend, we saw some guys finally step up. Ty Nygaard got some big wins, David Hurteau got some big wins, so hopefully we can see that one more weekend.”
Tim Chapman covers Minot High School athletics. Follow him on Twitter @chapmatp.