Tennis: Pequot’s Wiebolt-Holt hoping for extended state tourney
Class 1A state doubles
Who: Pequot Lakes seniors Haley Wiebolt-Sydney Holt
What: Class 1A state doubles tournament
When: 10 a.m. Thursday
Where: Reed-Sweat Family Tennis Center, Minneapolis
The numbers are staggering.
But the hope is to make them even better as Haley Wiebolt and Sydney Holt take the court for the Class 1A state doubles tournament 10 a.m. Thursday at the Reed-Sweat Family Tennis Center in Minneapolis.
The Pequot Lakes senior duo will open the tournament against junior Ashley Frederickson and freshman Renata Hernandez of St. James.
“They’re probably happy the waiting is about over,” said Pequot head coach Monica Sergent. “I think that’s hard. When sections are over, you’re happy you made it, but if they had their choice they would have headed right down there and started playing. It’s difficult to wait. You’re adrenaline is pretty high after sections.”
Wiebolt-Holt finished second in the Section 7-1A tournament to Eveleth-Gilbert’s Cora Delich and Audrey Delich. While not normally doubles players, the two converted quickly to doubles play. They won the South Subsection. They won the Moose Lake tournament earlier in the year, too.
“They played really well, I believe, in their first two matches at sections,” Sergent said. “I feel they had a few more unforced errors in the championship than is normal for them. I don’t know if it was the excitement of knowing they had made it to state or if they were just getting tired because it was their third match of the day. They just had a few more unforced errors than what is common for them.”
The two rarely err on the tennis court and their records reflect that. Wiebolt owns a 30-6 record. Most of those matches occurred at No. 1 singles. The four-year All-Mid-State Conference player has a career record of 155-32. Holt, who played No. 2 singles most of the season, finished with a 32-3 record. The first-year all-conference player owns 106-18 career record.
“They have a lot of experience in pressure situations against strong opponents so I think that will help them,” Sergent said. “They have good communication. They’ve had some good practices, especially these last few days. They feel pretty confident going into this. Although they are happy to be there, they are hopeful that they will do well once they get down there. Their goal wasn’t to just get there, but to do well and hopefully win some matches.”
Sergent said the pair have been working on doubles strategy and setting up each other to put the finishing shot down. They’ve also worked on transitioning from playing off the net to playing up close.
Wiebolt-Holt have never faced the St. James pair. Frederickson played in last year’s state doubles tournament where she and Aubrey Eckstrom finished 1-1. St. James also played in the state team tournament last season where they finished fourth. Frederickson was also on the 2013 St. James team that finished fourth.
St. James, ranked fourth in Class 1A, was in this year’s team competition, where it finished fourth for the third straight season.
“We did talk to a couple other coaches that have seen them and obviously if they made it to the state tournament they are a good team,” said Sergent. “The people that we’ve talked to feel that if we play well that we have a chance. We can certainly play right with them and we think we should be able to hold our own. We’re comfortable with the draw that we got.”
This will be Wiebolt’s third state tournament, but first state tennis tournament. She was on Pequot’s last state softball team and the state basketball team in 2013. Holt just missed state last season in the singles division. This will be her first state tournament.
“We’re happy to be there,” Sergent said. “We’re excited to be competing and we feel like we have as good a chance as anybody.”