Bemidji Girls Tennis Reloading In 2018
The Bemidji girls tennis team has had a lot of success in recent years, but things will be a little tougher this time around after losing multiple key pieces. The Jacks graduated five seniors last year, including players occupying three of the top positions, like Abbie Kelm, who graduated with the most wins in school history.
The returning players are eager to get back in action and hit the ground running.
“We’re ready to play and we’re not as experienced this year, but we’re ready to get out on the courts,” said junior Aftyn Schmidt.
A talented freshman group has made things interesting at the bottom of the lineup as well as they look to make an impact.
“They’re going to push the older girls and we’re seeing that this week already,” said head coach Mark Fodness. “Right now, there are literally sixteen girls fighting for ten spots.”
“I think it’s pretty even,” said senior Taylor Offerdahl. “Everyone’s fighting for those last couple spots that we’ve got on the varsity so it’s pretty fun to watch.”
One thing passed down from last year’s team? The importance of mental toughness, which is often the difference.
“They were all so positive and they were all so driven to play their best, and we really want to bring that into this year’s team,” said Schmidt.
“Talent-wise, they’re really pretty even, but who can step up under match conditions and play tough? That’s what we’re looking for,” said Fodness.
“I think the goal for this season is to just play the best game that you can and if you win, you win, and if you don’t, then you tried your best so you’re good,” said Offerdahl.
“I really have a good feeling that at the end of the year we’re going to be quite a bit better than at the beginning,” said Fodness. “I think all of our competition at practice is going to make us tough.”