Boys Tennis team captures first ever state title

State Class A at Polson – May 23-24-25, 2013

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Polson – Billings Central boys tied at top after first day

On the boys’ side, Billings Central served notice its a force to be reckoned with by qualifying three for Friday’s semifinals in Polson. The list includes defending state champ Dillon Meyer (25-0) in singles and the doubles duo of John Knisely and Harrison Fagg.

The Rams’ No. 2 doubles team of Tommy Pankrantz and Jake Newbury is still alive on the consolation side. Their evening match was called after two sets because of darkness.

“I feel like we’re in good position,” coach Mary K. Housinger said of the Rams’ team title hopes. “But Polson still has a lot of their kids in and Corvallis still has several in so there’s no guarantees of anything yet.”

Polson had two boys reach the semifinals in singles in Brady Hislop and Dylan McCrumb. Hislop will face Meyer and McCrumb will battle Aidan Goodman of Livingston.

The Blue Devils’ defending state champion doubles team of Bridger Walczynski and DJ Pekoc survived some indigestion in reaching the semifinal round.

“Their first match they came out and pretty much took care of business easily,” Corvallis coach Chris Maul-Smith said. “The second match Bridger got sick, kind of a lunch malfunction, so he had kind of a rough start. They were never down I don’t think, but they gave up three games in the first set.”

Walczynski and Pekoc have yet to lose this season, but they’ll be put to the test in a semifinal against Whitefish’s Logan Blades and Sean Janni. The Bulldog duo reached the semifinals with a 6-4, 7-6 (3) win over Blake Stanhope and Gavin McPherson of Glendive.

Also reaching the semifinals in doubles was the Polson team of Layne Zimmerman and Hayden Congdon. They will face Knisely and Fagg.

The state meet will wrap up Friday either in the late afternoon or early evening, depending on the weather. The forecast calls for a 70 percent chance of rain.

Day 1 results



First round

Dillon Meyer (Billings Central) def. John Totenberg (Livingston), 6-0, 6-1; Danny Leggins (Libby) def. Reese Isherwood (Hamilton), 1-6, 6-3, 6-3; Brady Hislop (Polson) def. Northey Tretheway (Butte Central), 6-1, 6-0; Jeff Miller (Havre) def. Nathan Sickler (Glendive), 6-2, 6-3; Alma Powell (Corvallis) def. Jason Schnackenberg (Libby), 6-4, 6-2; Aidan Goodman (Livingston) def. Blayne Sandau (Billings Central), 1-6, 6-2, 6-1; Hadyn Pettersen (Glendive) def. Andrew Bruno (Lewistown), 6-3, 7-6 (2); Dylan McCrumb (Polson) def. Kale Guldseth (Butte Central), 6-2, 6-1


Meyer def. Leggins, 6-0, 6-2; Hislop def. Miller, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2; Goodman def. Powell, 7-6 (1) 7-6 (3); McCrumb def. Pettersen, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.


First round

John Knisely/Harrison Fagg (Billings Central) def. Andy Butcher/Austing Songer (Lewistown), 7-5, 6-3; Jim Joyce/Frank Joyce (Butte Central) def. Tyler Dupuis/Sam Kinzle (Polson), 6-3, 6-2; Layne Zimmerman/Hayden Congdon (Polson) def. Jeremy Jessop/Shade Jessop (Corvallis), 6-4, 6-2; Tommy Pankrantz/Jake Newbury (Billings Central) def. Aaron VanMeel/Geoff Dierenfeldt (Anaconda), 6-3, 6-1; Bridger Walczynski/ DJ Pekoc (Corvallis) def. Ian Mysclicki/Lane Lusher (Libby), 6-1, 6-1; Zach Palmer/Dennis Berg (Glendive) def. Issac Richards/Noble Vance (Livingston), 6-0, 6-1; Blake Stanhope/Gavin McPherson (Glendive) def. Nick Rhines/JJ Hovet (Havre), 6-1, 6-1; Logan Blades/Sean Janni (Whitefish) def. Joseph Fecteau/Curtis Liston (Stevensville), 6-3, 6-1.


Knisely/Fagg def. Joyce/Joyce, 6-2, 6-0; Zimmerman/Congdon def. Pankrantz/Newbury, 7-6 (5), 6-4; Walczynski/Pekoc def. Palmer/Berg, 6-3, 6-1; Blades/Janni def. Stanhope/McPherson, 6-4, 7-6 (3.)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Pirate boys tied for lead

Corvallis doubles dynamo on brink of State A tennis sweep

POLSON – Anyone who has ever played high school doubles knows the endeavor is decidedly unpredictable.

Sometimes the best team doesn’t win. Often Montana’s spring weather serves as a tennis neutralizer.

That’s what makes Bridger Walczynski’s accomplishments so impressive. The Corvallis senior moved to the brink of his fourth straight State A doubles championship Friday, teaming with DJ Pekoc to reach Saturday’s final with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Logan Blades and Sean Janni of Whitefish.

The state meet was slated to finish Friday but a pair of storms caused a four-hour delay. Consequently, the finals and place matches will be played starting at 8 a.m. Saturday.

Walczynski, who has competed with three different partners in four years, will shoot for a rare high school sweep against Billings Central’s John Knisely and Harrison Fagg. He and Pekoc enter the match with an edge in experience, having teamed for a state title last season.

Walczynski made no bones about the significance, at least in his mind, of winning his fourth straight title.

“It would be the greatest thing I think could ever happen to me in high school,” he said.

Corvallis coach Chris Maul-Smith used one word to describe his top doubles team: Dominating.

“It’s just an amazing pair to watch,” he said. “A ball goes past one of them and you think it’s a done deal and they cross and cover for each other. It’s fun to watch.”

Polson’s doubles team of Layne Zimmerman and Hayden Congdon didn’t fare as well in their semifinal. They fell victim to Knisely and Fagg in a heartbreaker, 6-1, 7-6 (1).

The Pirates, who are tied with Billings Central atop the boys’ team standings with 17 points apiece, did have winner in the semifinal round. Dylan McCrumb defeated Livingston’s Aidan Goodman, 6-3, 6-4, to earn a spot in the final where he will face defending champion Dillon Meyer of the Rams, who swept Polson’s Brady Hislop, 6-1, 6-0.

Friday at Polson


Team standings: Billings Central and Polson 17, Corvallis 10, Glendive 9, Livingston and Whitefish 5, Butte Central, Havre and Libby 4, Hamilton 2, Anaconda, Fergus and Stevensville 1.

Singles semifinals

Dillon Meyer, BC, def. def. Brady Hislop, Pol, 6-1, 6-0; Dylan McCrumb, Pol, def. Aidan Goodman, Liv, 6-3, 6-4.

Doubles semifinals

John Knisely/Harrison Fagg, BC, def. Layne Zimmerman/Hayden Congdon, Pol, 6-1, 7-6 (1); Bridger Walczynski/DJ Pekoc, Cor, def. Logan Blades/Sean Janni, WF, 6-0, 6-0.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Corvallis girls, Polson boys secure team titles

POLSON – It was a special Saturday for a pair of western Montana teams at the State A tennis meet.

For the first time in history the Corvallis girls and Polson boys were crowned team champions. The Blue Devils edged out Glendive by three points while the Pirates shared top honors with Billings Central.

In both cases it took Saturday morning heroics to seal the deal. For Corvallis, the state champion doubles team of Sydnee Madruga and Megan Lengyel rallied from a 2-5 deficit in the first set to win, 7-6 (4), 6-3. For Polson, Brady Hislop trailed 1-3 in the first set of a third-fourth singles match but bounced back to win in straight sets and earn critical team points.

“My girls’ team found out what the points were and I’m standing by the soccer field and they about knocked me flat on the ground,” Corvallis coach Mike Fehr said of the moment his squad learned its fate. “They were pretty excited.”

Ditto for the Polson boys.

“We knew last night Billings Central had probably won (a title share) and we had to have Brady win and the doubles team win and we had to have some help from Glendive,” Pirates coach Bob Hislop said. “All of that had to happen today and after our doubles won and Glendive won it was a pretty rowdy environment for a high school tennis tournament. The crowd was pretty darn into it.”

Corvallis had three girls contribute Saturday. Sophomore Laramie McHugh did her part by defeating Macy Ricketts of Livingston in the third-fourth place match. But it was Madruga and Lengyel who grabbed the spotlight, going out in style as seniors.

“Originally they were a little nervous,” Fehr said of his champion doubles team. “Then once they got rolling, their focus was dialed back in and play was very sharp.

“We knew getting up this morning we had to win the matches we had left. The gals just did a great job of taking care of business. It was really just amazing.”

For the Polson boys, Brady Hislop wasn’t the only one to capture a key third-place finish. The doubles team of Hayden Congdon and Layne Zimmerman matched the feat with a win over Whitefish’s Logan Blades and Sean Janni, 6-1, 7-6 (3).

“The kids just came through,” coach Hislop commented. “Shared or not, winning the team title is very sweet.”

With morning temperatures in the low 40s, the Pirates’ Dylan McCrumb didn’t fare as well in the singles championship. He ran into a buzzsaw in sophomore Dillon Meyer of Billings Central, who secured his second straight championship with a 6-2, 6-0 victory.

The boys’ doubles championship produced another historic moment for western Montana. Corvallis senior Bridger Walczynski earned his fourth straight title and second with sophomore DJ Pekoc. The duo defeated John Knisely and Harrison Fagg of Billings Central, 6-4, 6-0.

“The Central boys came out and were definitely a worthy opponent,” Blue Devils coach Chris Maul-Smith said. “That first set they played quite well. They were never leading but it was close.

“Late in that first set Bridger and DJ were getting dialed in. After that they took charge. As soon as they finished I think Bridger jumped up and yelled, ‘Yeah!’ Very fittingly he was the one that put away an overhead to finish it out.”

Saturday results


Team scores: Polson and Billings Central 34, Corvallis 21, Glendive 10, Livingston and Whitefish 9, Butte Central, Havre and Libby 4, Hamilton 2, Anaconda, Fergus and Stevensville 1.



Dillon Meyer, BC, def. Dylan McCrumb, Pol, 6-2, 6-0.

Third-fourth match

Brady Hislop, Pol, def. Aidan Goodman, Liv, 6-3, 6-2.

Fifth-sixth match

Alma Powell, Cor, def. Jeff Miller, Hav, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.



Bridger Walczynski/DJ Pekoc, Cor, def. John Knisely/Harrison Fagg, BC, 6-4, 6-0.

Third-fourth match

Hayden Congdon/Layne Zimmerman, Pol, def. Logan Blades/Sean Janni, Whi, 6-1, 7-6 (3).

Fifth-sixth match

Zach Palmer/Dennis Berg, Glen, def. Tommy Pankrantz/Jake Newburn, BC, 6-0, 6-1.