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Polson boys tennis state champions, girls battle

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POLSON — Thunder cracked the sky, lightning struck the earth and rain pounded the courts during the Montana State Tennis Tournament last week, causing more than six hours of delays and pushing the tournament an extra day into Saturday. Even so, Polson's head coach Bob Hislop said the weather may have helped his team.

“I think that having been around state tennis for the last three or four years, we have not had a good weekend state weather-wise for the last few years .... but, having (Friday night) to rest up before we played those very necessary matches worked out nicely in our favor,” he said. 

The girls team, having won divisionals seven years in a row, had a tough weekend. Whitney Zimmerman, the second female in Polson school history to compete at the state tournament all four years of tennis, came within one match of placing. She lost in a hard-fought quarterfinal match to Barclay Fagg of Billings Central 6-2 6-1 and her consolation to Jordan Johnson of Glendive 6-3 6-0. Both Johnson and Fagg would place in the tournament. 

“Whitney Zimmerman has had an amazing career,” Hislop said. 

However, after the rain, a rainbow appeared. Only six singles and six doubles earn placing honors at the state level. The Polson boys nabbed four of the six places. Dylan McCrumb made it to the championship match against Dylan Meyer of Billings Central, losing in a bout that looked more akin to chess than tennis. Every point was hard earned with both athletes seeming to be masters of their domains, capitalizing on each other's mistakes and complimenting one another across the net during play. Dylan lost the final match and took second, helping propel the boys' team to their first state championship title in Hislop's 22 years of coaching. 

“The boys made the highest achievement you can, so it's been a very good year,” Hislop said. “To finally win that was great. It has been an amazing season and it ended with an amazing accomplishment.  The first state Championship in school history in Boys tennis and the first boys state championship in a boys sport in 14 years.  The best part is that this is home-grown talent.  I told them in March they could do this, they went to work and went out and did it.”

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