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C.C. Lee features tight title matches

Addison O’Keefe, of Aberdeen, returns a volley during the 16 and under singles semifinal Tuesday at the C.C. Lee Tennis Tournament on the Northern State University tennis courts. Photo by John Davis taken 7/12/2022

There was plenty of late-match drama at the C.C. Lee Open Junior Tennis Tournament at the Northern State Courts on Tuesday.

A pair of championship matches were decided in super-tiebreakers while another involved two close sets.

Addison O’Keefe saved six match points before finally outlasting her twin sister, Riley, in the Girls’ 16-and-Under Singles championship.

Addison overcame a slow start to record a 1-6, 7-6 (7-4), (13-11) victory.

She said playing someone she knows so well only complicates matters.

“It’s much more of a mental game,” Addison said. “I struggle with getting mad very easily and then that can sometimes not help me, especially when I’m playing my sister, because I want to win more.”

Riley led 5-3 in the second set and had a match point at deuce, but Addison won that point which fueled a late-set rally.

“I was able to get four games in a row and still be in it,” Addison said.

After leveling the match at a set apiece, Addison found herself in trouble again in the super breaker, facing three match points down 6-9. She managed to save all of those and two more before finally securing the victory.

“I was very worried,” Addison said, “and some how I was able to come back.”

The 15-year-old sisters feature extremely contrasting styles with Addison being more aggressive and Riley being more defensive. Each style worked against the other with Addison’s attacking eventually prevailing.

“It’s hard, because in the first set I was trying to be aggressive and they all went long. I had a lot of long balls,” Addison said. “And then I’m like, ‘Oh no, do I not want to hit long anymore?’ But then I’m like, ‘Addison you have good ground strokes. Hit how you know you can hit’ and that’s how I pulled through.”

Dawson Pederson was also involved in a battle in the Boys’ 12-and-Under Singles championship before pulling out a 6-4, 5-7, (11-9) win over Elijah Lindgren of Sioux Falls.

In his case, Pederson had multiple match points in his favor, eventually coming through on the final one.

Pederson, who was up a set and 4-1, said a big key was not getting overconfident.

“Just not thinking I was going to easily win with my big lead,” he said.

Dawson Pederson, of Aberdeen, reaches to return a volley during the 12 and under singles final Tuesday at the C.C. Lee Tennis Tournament on the Northern State University tennis courts. Photo by John Davis taken 7/12/2022

One of the key points of the match occurred at 8-8 in the super breaker. After exchanging dozens of strokes in a point that lasted multiple minutes, Pederson was able to gain an edge. While Lindgren saved a match point after that, he was not able to hold on.

Pederson said he was nervous in the super, but tried to set the tone with his serve.

“I started hitting my serves harder,” Pederson said.

Pederson is a multi-sport athlete who will be competing in a state baseball tournament this weekend and is coming off a wrestling camp last weekend.

When asked how he keeps everything straight, Pederson responded, “Every day I just ask my parents if I have any events. Most of the days they say yes.”

He said being a wrestler pays off when it comes to a long tennis match like the one he played on Tuesday.

“It makes me stronger and gives you better mindset,” Pederson said.

While Emily Ringgenberg did not have to save any match points, the top player from Aberdeen Central had to battle back from a pair of second-set breaks in her Girls’ 18-and-Under Singles championship match.

Ringgenberg defeated Elizabeth Comings of Wahpeton, N.D., 6-3, 7-5 in the title match.

“It’s pretty difficult,” Ringgenberg said of having to battle back. “When I’m down, I kind of slow down and then tell myself I need to keep moving so I can get back into points.”

Emily Ringgenberg, of Aberdeen, returns a volley during the 18 and under singles semifinal Tuesday at the C.C. Lee Tennis Tournament on the Northern State University tennis courts. Photo by John Davis taken 7/12/2022

As she had throughout the day, Ringgenberg hurt her opponents with powerful backhand shots, eventually rifling a backhand pass up the line on match point to secure the championship.

“It’s been a little rough lately,” Ringgenberg said of her backhand, “but I got it back today.”

Ringgenberg, who played a pair of her Central teammates on the way to the title match, said there is a big difference between playing friends and an out-of-state foe.

“I played two Aberdeen people. When I’m playing with them it just kind of seems like we’re just hitting over the summer,” Ringgenberg said. “It doesn’t really seem like a match as much as it does playing out of town people you don’t know.”

Mitchell Hofer took all of the drama out of his final as the match wore on. After having a battle in the opening set, the 13-year-old took control en route to a 6-4, 6-1 win over Alexander Comings of Wahpeton in the Boys’ 16-and-Under Singles championship.

“In the first set, he had a lot better serves. He got his serve in most of the time,” Hofer said. “His second serve was not the best, so I could really control the point if he gave me that second serve.”

Meanwhile, Hofer lost his serve just once the entire match.

“I think I served pretty well. I placed it very well. I didn’t hit it that hard,” Hofer said. “I had an ace and my shoe fell off, so that was nice.”

Mitchell Hofer, of Aberdeen, returns a volley during the 16 and under singles final Tuesday at the C.C. Lee Tennis Tournament on the Northern State University tennis courts. Photo by John Davis taken 7/12/2022

Like Pederson, Hofer is a multi-sport athlete and will be competing on the same baseball team in the state tournament this weekend. Next weekend Hofer will be participating in a big basketball tournament.

“This is my first (tennis tournament) of the year so far, a lot of baseball, a lot of basketball,” Hofer said. “It’s good to get the first tournament you play as a win, though. It’s nice.”

Hofer said it takes mental preparation and focus for all the sports he competes in.

“I’m really excited for tennis season next year,” Hofer said. “I’m ready to get ready for it, and basketball in the winter, and baseball is wrapping up this weekend.”

Other local winners in the tournament included Ringgenberg and Alice Vogel in the Girls’ 18-and-Under Doubles, Julia Knie and Riley O’Keefe in Girls’ 16-and-Under Doubles, Hofer and Gabe Goetz in the Boys’ 18-and-Under Doubles, and Carter Lust and Ryker Wiedeman in the Boys’ 14-and-Under Doubles.

BOYS’ DIVISION

12-and-Under Singles

Dawson Pederson def. Matthew Christen, Wahpeton, 6-3, 6-2; Elijah Lindgren, Sioux Falls, Lucas Meester, Watertown, 6-3, 6-1.

Championship: Pederson def. Lindgren, 6-4, 5-7, (11-9).

Consolation: Zachary Comings, Wahpeton, def. James Johnston, 10-0; Zayne Fast Horse def. Gavin Johnston, 10-0. Consolation Championship: Fast Horse def. Z. Comings def. Fast Horse, 11-9.

12-and-Under Doubles

Championship: Lucas Hight, Pierre-Lucas Meester, Watertown def. Johnston-Johnston, by default.

14-and-Under Singles

Jared Christen, Mandan, def. Cooper Star, Mitchell, 6-1, 6-1; Garrett Anderson, Wahpeton, def. Joseph Meester, Watertown, 6-3, 6-4.

Championship: Christen def. Anderson, 6-3, 6-3.

Consolation championship: Gannon Pederson def. Wyatt Kiesz, 10-2.

14-and-Under Doubles

Championship: Carter Lust-Ryker Wiedeman def. Cooper Star, Mitchell-Lucas Meester, Watertown, 6-2, 6-2.

16-and-Under Singles

Palmer Johnson def. Hunter Boelke, Wahpeton, 6-2, 6-0; Gannon May def. Landen Appl, Milbank, by default; Mitchell Hofer def. Johnson, 6-2, 6-2; Alexander Comings, Wahpeton, def. May, 7-5, 6-4.

Championship: Hofer def. Comings, 6-4, 6-1.

Consolation Championship: Boelke def. Appl, by default.

18-and-Under Singles

David Comings, Wahpeton, def. Matthew Comings, Wahpeton, 6-4, 4-6, (12-10); Michael Frohling def. Jack Riggs, 1-6, 6-3, (15-13).

Championship: D. Comings def. Frohling, 6-2, 6-0.

Consolation: Carter St. Aubin, Wahpeton def. Paul Vocu, Watertown, by default. Consolation championship: Thadius Steinberger Jr., Wahpeton, def. St. Aubin, 10-5.

18-and-Under Doubles

David Comings, Wahpeton-Matthew Comings, Wahpeton, def. Garrett Anderson, Wahpeton-Thadeus Steinberger Jr.-Wahpeton, 6-2, 6-0; Mitchell Hofer-Gabe Goetz def. Palmer Johnson-Gannon May, 6-0, 6-1.

Championship: Hofer-Goetz def. D. Comings-M. Comings, 6-2, 6-1.

GIRLS’ DIVISION

16-and-Under Singles

Addison O’Keefe def. Raley Haskell, 6-2, 6-4; Riley O’Keefe def. Madison Schmahl, Rapid City, 6-1, 6-1.

Championship: A. O’Keefe def. R. O’Keefe, 1-6, 7-6 (7-4), (13-11).

Consolation Championship: River Haskell def. Breelyn Lacina, Wahpeton, 10-5.

16-and-Under Doubles

(Round Robin)

Julia Knie-Riley O’Keefe def. Raley Haskell-River Haskell, 6-1, 6-0.

First Place: Knie-O’Keefe. Second Place: Haskell-Haskell.

18-and-Under Singles

Elizabeth Comings, Wahpeton def. Kyree Lacina, Wahpeton, 6-0, 6-2; Emily Ringgenberg def. Livia Douglas, 6-3, 6-1.

Championship: Ringgenberg def. Comings, 6-3, 7-5.

Consolation Championship: Alice Vogel def. Julia Knie, 10-3.

18-and-Under Doubles

(Round Robin)

Alice Vogel-Emily Ringgenberg def. Brenna Erdmann, Wahpeton-Elizabeth Comings, Wahpeton, 6-1, 6-2.

First Place: Vogel-Ringgenberg. Second Place: Erdmann-Comings.

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