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Persistence paying off for Douglas

Livia Douglas, of Aberdeen, returns a volley during Monday’s action in the C.C. Lee Tournament at the Northern State University tennis courts. Photo by John Davis taken 1/12/2021

Livia Douglas is one of many individuals both playing and working at the C.C. Lee Youth Tennis Tournament which wraps up today.

The 15-year-old from Aberdeen works for the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department, which runs the tourney. She also gives tennis lessons for Parks and Rec.

“I do like working a lot with kids,” Douglas said. “That’s really fun to get to see them day in, day out. Just to be able to watch them grow as kids and play tennis, and have fun while doing it.”

Douglas tries to instill into them a lesson that has proven valuable in her tennis career so far.

“Keep trying. I know that’s cliché and stuff, but in sixth grade I couldn’t even hit a ball. I couldn’t hit it in at all. Like barely, maybe, sometimes on a good day,” she said. “But now since I’ve worked so hard up to this, it was just constant repetition and that’s brought me to where I am today, and I’m very thankful for that.”

Douglas, who won both of her singles matches on Monday, said she enjoys both singles and doubles, because they have different routes to get to the same goal.

“I really like the fight of singles and kind of having that alone fight where I can kind of work on a mental game and keep working towards that goal,” Douglas said. “And then I really like doubles how I can merge with people and kind of work towards a goal collectively. I really like the strategy you have to go through.”

TAKING ON A CHALLENGE

Mitchell Hofer is just 12-years-old, but is playing in the 16 and Under singles division at the C.C. Lee.

“I just decided to play up because I thought it’d be better competition,” he said, “and I’d rather lose in a close match than win in a blow out.”

Hofer made the most of his opportunity on Monday, beating A.J. Prehn in a super-tiebreaker in the opening round.

“The first set I played pretty well. The second set I tried to volley with him and it didn’t go well,” Hofer said. “So I lost the second set. The tiebreaker I think I played pretty well. I hit a lot of good winners.”

Hofer is a multi-sport athlete. He is a key member on his basketball and baseball teams, but still manages to find time to play tennis.

“I’m busy,” he said. “I have about 4 to 5 things a day with baseball and basketball. I usually do 3 or 4 and skip one.”

When asked what his favorite sport was, Hofer responded, “Right now it’s probably tennis. I like tennis more because it’s all on you. Your teammates can’t really effect how you play.”

COMPETITIVE TOURNEY

C.C. Lee Tournament Director Trent Kurtz is no stranger to the event. He played in the tourney many times while growing up in the Hub City. He said there is one thing that stands out from those days.

“Competition, first and foremost. It was always fun,” Kurtz said. “The competition was unreal. Back then we had a lot of kids from Minnesota playing. You played new faces. Very good competition. That’s the thing I remember most about it.”

This year’s field features 60 total players from a variety of locations including Milbank, Sioux Falls, Watertown, Jamestown, N.D., and Wahpeton, N.D., in addition to Aberdeen.

“Overall, a good group,” Kurtz said. “I’m happy with the numbers.”

Kurtz said the biggest challenge is getting all the courts covered with workers because most of them are also playing in the tourney.

“Really the most challenging part is all of our instructors are players,” Kurtz said. “They’re all playing in this right now, so we’re trying to get enough help. We’re just kind of rotating through the help. But they’re all good workers, so it’s been alright.”

RETURNING HOME

The C.C. Lee Tourney once again has a large delegation of players from Wahpeton, N.D. There is a key reason for that each year.

The Wahpeton coach is former Northern State player Amanda Lunsetter, who brought 11 players this year.

“For me this is a little bit nostalgic, coming back to my old stomping grounds,” Lunsetter said. “Having played for Northern for three years, I like coming back and seeing my courts and showing the kids around.”

She said that Aberdeen has a lot to offer for her players.

“For them it’s an opportunity to compete and not many places are near Wahpeton,” Lunsetter said. “We get to go swim in the pool and play around at Wylie. It’s good team bonding.”

Lunsetter, who has brought players to the tourney for nearly a decade, said there are changes each time she shows up.

“It morphs every year. Northern seems to want to not stay still. It’s fun and it’s sad at the same time” Lunsetter said. “It’s sad, because I miss our 12 courts. I prefer that over the six. But at the same time the soccer complex looks really lovely. It makes it so there’s always something for us to explore when we return.”

Lunsetter plans on coming back for years to come. It’s not only a chance to return home, but also a great travel destination.

“This is our peak for the season,” she said. “It’s a long travel down to Sioux Falls or Rapid City, so Aberdeen is kind of the spot.”

FACING NEW FOES

Part of the enjoyment of competing in tournaments is the opportunity to face new players. Aberdeen’s Gabe Goetz found himself in a tight battle against David Comings of Wahpeton, N.D. on Monday morning.

“It’s different, especially when he has the one-handed backhand. I’m not used to seeing that,” Goetz said. “It is fun. You get better because you’re experiencing new things as you go.”

Goetz pulled out a tight match which featured plenty of ebb and flow.

“The first set was close because no one broke, and then I finally got the break at the end. Then second set I got down 4-1 and I brought it back to 4-4 and then I lost a deuce game, there,” Goetz said. “At the start of the super I got aced. I wasn’t really worried because I knew it was just the first point. I got back in it. I got up 5-2 and then I felt pretty comfortable.”

Goetz was sporting a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball cap that went along with black shirt and shorts.

“My dad is a big Pittsburgh fan, so I kind of just got that,” he said. “I actually just got a Pirates jersey two days ago in Minneapolis.”

When asked if he was going to wear that jersey when play resumes today, Goetz responded, “Ahh, I don’t know. It might be a little hot for that.”

BOYS’ DIVISION

12 and Under Singles

Cooper Star, bye; Aric Tennant def. Jackson Isaak, 6-0, 6-2; Dawson Pederson def. Zayne Fast Horse, 6-4, 6-1; Ryker Weideman def. Lucas Meester, 6-0, 6-0.

14 and Under Singles

Gannon Pederson def. Landen Appl, 6-4, 6-0; Alexander Comings def. Pederson, 6-3, 6-1; Jacob Meester def. Wyatt Kiesz, 6-1, 6-1; Mika Dannen def. Cowboy Haskell, 7-5, 6-7, 7-6; Aiden Zerr def. Coen Vogel, 6-0, 6-0.

Consolation: Appl def. Vogel, 10-5.

14 and Under Doubles

Pederson-Hofer def. Meester-Meester, 6-3, 6-0; Lust-Tennant def. Boelke-Comings, 2-6, 6-2, (10-3); Pederson-Hofer def. Vogel-Kiesz, 6-3, 6-0.

16 and Under Singles

Sam Hayden, bye; Jack Riggs def. Gannon May, 6-1, 6-0; Mitchell Hofer def. A.J. Prehn, 7-5, 4-6, 7-6; Cason Hellwig, bye.

16 and Under Doubles

(Round Robin)

Riggs-Gogue def. May-Frohling, 6-0, 7-5; Prehn-Hellwig def. May-Frohling, 6-1, 6-3.

18 and Under Singles

Gabe Goetz def. David Comings, 7-5, 4-6, (10-7); Paul Vocu def. Andrew Withuski, 6-0, 6-3; Zach Gonsor def. Jacob Bartels, 6-7 (4-7), 7-5, (10-6); Matthew Comings def. Douglas Burvee, 6-0, 3-6, (13-11).

Consolation: D. Comings def. Withuski, 10-1; Burvee def. Bartels, 10-8.

18 and Under Doubles

Gonsor-Goetz def. Comings-Burvee, 6-0, 6-2; Bartels-Comins def. Vocu-Ahlberg, 6-0, 6-2.

GIRLS’ DIVISION

14 and Under Singles

Avery Tennant def. Riley O’Keefe, 6-2, 6-3; Julia Knie def. Sierra DeWitt, 6-0, 6-0; Reese Comstock def. River Haskell, 6-4, 6-0; Addison O’Keefe def. Raley Haskell, 6-3, 6-0.

Consolation: R. O’Keefe def. DeWitt, 10-2; River Haskell def. Raley Haskell, 10-2.

14 and Under Doubles

O’Keefe-Knie def. Comstock-O’Keefe, 6-2, 6-3; Haskell-Haskell def. Tennant-DeWitt, 7-6, 6-3.

16 and Under Singles

Livia Douglas def. Olivia Geier, 6-2, 6-4; Alice Vogel def. Sage DeWitt, 6-2, 6-2; Emily Ringgenberg def. Jenna Joachim, 6-1, 6-0; Douglas def. Carly Comstock, 6-2, 6-3; Vogel def. Kyree Lacina, 6-0, 6-2; Elizabeth Comings def. Katherine Kretchman, 6-2, 6-1.

Consolation: Comstock def. DeWitt, 10-0.

18 and Under Singles

(Round Robin)

Phoebe Olson def. Holly German, 6-0, 6-0.

18 and Under Doubles

Douglas-Comstock def. Geier-Freddie, 6-1, 6-0; Jochim-Galvin def. Lacina-German, 6-4, 6-2; Kretchman-Barnett def. DeWitt-DeWitt, 6-4, 6-2; Vogel-Ringgenberg def. Douglas-Comstock, 6-2, 6-3; Joachim-Galvin def. Kretchman-Barnett, 4-6, 6-2, (10-2).

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