Columbia Falls’ Molly Schmit opened her season with a 7-5, 1-6, 7-5 win over Whitefish’s Hannah Madsen in girls singles tennis action last week. Sammi Mueller also got her first victory of the season, dropping Melissa Pollard 6-2, 6-2 in No. 2 singles. In doubles, Shaelynn Turk and Anna Pickard dropped Kit Anderson and Autumn Roalson, 5-7, 6-0, 6-4. As a team, Whitefish edged the Wildkats 4-3.
The boys had a tougher time against the Bulldogs, losing 6-1.
Garrett Caffrey dropped Colter Upton 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 in No. 4 singles for the boys’ lone win.
The boys this year are coached by Michele Colliander, who was the assistant coach for two seasons after longtime boys coach Gary Yee stepped down.
“Coach Colliander and I are very excited about the turn-out for tennis this year. We have a great mix of experienced players and newer players,” girls coach Gene Marcille said.
Colliander, who was a state singles champion for the Kats back in 1997, likes her team’s positive attitude.
“We have a lot of potential, but there’s a lot of work to do,” she said. Returning player John Gilk is her No. 1 singles player, coming over from playing doubles last season.
Jayden Wirkus and Caleb Fluery anchor the doubles team.
“I have a lot of kids that are really excited about the team,” Colliander said. Numbers are healthy — the boys squad has 14 players and some players are doubling up on varsity and junior varsity just to get playing time in. Tennis is a lot harder than it looks, but once you learn it, “It’s a lifetime sport,” Colliander notes.
Eventually, Colliander would like to get some fundraising going to build new courts at the high school. The school currently uses the city courts at Columbus Park, but the ball doesn’t bounce well on the plastic surface — it skids — and the surface itself is prone to buckling.
Tisha Quiram is the junior varsity coach for both girls and boys.
The teams were supposed to play Dillon in Polson last Friday, but it was rained out.
On Tuesday, the Kats dropped Ronan 3-1 and the boys lost 2-1.
They face Polson at home Thursday. Polson starts at 2 p.m.
Whitefish 4, Columbia Falls 3
Singles — Molly Schmit, CF, def. Hannah Madsen 7-5, 1-6, 7-5; Paint Intasuk, WF, def. Kayla Nicol 6-0, 6-0; Sammi Mueller, CF, def. Melissa Pollard 6-2, 6-2; Savannah Krause, WF, def. Brianna Kirby 3-6, 6-0, 6-1.
Doubles — Cailyn Ross/Paige Sproul, WF, def. Meghan McCallum/Mariah Lingle 6-3, 6-2; Olivia Pothoff/Aubrey Hanks, WF, def. Taylor Kellar/Paige Lozeau 6-1, 6-2; Shaelynn Turk/Anna Pickard, CF, def. Kit Anderson/Autumn Roalson 5-7, 6-0, 6-4.
Whitefish 6, Columbia Falls 1
Singles — Eric Holdhusen, WF, def. John Gilk 6-0, 6-1; Ethan Pothoff, WF, def. Patrick Tillman 6-0, 6-0; Zach Brandt, WF, def. Chris Howell 6-2, 6-4; Garrett Caffrey, CF, def. Colter Upton 6-1, 1-6, 6-3.
Doubles — Brendan Buls/Thomas Carloss, WF, def. Jayden Wirkus/Caleb Fleury 6-1, 6-1; Forrest Kobelt/Mark Anderson, WF, def. Camryn Lingle/Dillon Washington 6-1, 6-2; Travis Catina/Kyiah Ingraham, WF, def. Camryn Klintworth/Colton Byrd 6-1, 6-1.
Ronan 2, Columbia Falls 1
Singles - Bailey Moss, R, def. John Gilk, CF, 6-4, 6-1; Coleman Taylor, R, def. Chris Howell, CF, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.
Doubles - Jayden Wirkus/Caleb Fluery, CF, def. Thomas Yellowbird/Garrett Anderson, R, 6-4, 6-0.
Columbia Falls 3, Ronan 0
Singles - Molly Schmit, CF, def. Maddy Sevier, R, 6-2, 6-0; Sammi Mueller, CF, def. Morgan Brooks, R, 6-2, 6-1.
Doubles - Meghan McCallum/Kayla Nicol, CF, def. BreAnna Turpin/Julia Matkovich, R, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.