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Fairmont’s doubles teams, BEA’s Benz qualify for individual state meet

INDIVIDUAL STATE QUALIFIERS — Fairmont’s doubles teams, from left, Ellie Hernes and Lauren Davis, and Libby Totzke and Maggy Totzke all qualified during Wednesday’s Section 2 Meet for the Class A individual state girls tennis tournament on Oct. 28-29 at the Reed-Sweatt Tennis Center in Minneapolis. (Photo by Charlie Sorrells)

ST. PETER — Fairmont doubled its state-qualifying doubles teams, while Blue Earth Area and St. James Area each netted a singles entrant in the Class A state individual girls tennis tournament in two weeks.

In similar fashion to its ascent to the Class A team state meet, Fairmont advanced both of its Section 2 tandems to the championship match for the first time in 27 years on Wednesday at the Swanson Indoor Tennis Center on the Gustavus Adolphus College campus.

Twin sisters Libby Totzke and Maggy Totzke outdueled teammates Ellie Hernes and Lauren Davis, 6-0, 7-5, to earn the sectional doubles crown and an automatic bid to the individual state competition Oct. 28-29 at Reed-Sweatt Tennis Center in Minneapolis.

The No. 5-seeded Totzke-Totzke combination gained the sectional gold-medal match by outslugging top-seeded Sailor Mohlenbrock and Allison Bluedorn of St. James Area in the semifinals via a hard-fought 6-2, 7-6 (8-6) victory.

Ironically, the fraternal siblings from Fairmont played as a duo only once during the regular season before pairing for postseason action during their senior campaigns.

“Maggy is a better singles player than me, and I’m stronger in doubles,” said Libby Totzke, who played No. 2 doubles with Hope Klanderud for the majority of the fall, while Maggy Totzke filled the No. 3 position in the singles bracket. “We did have a kind of sibling chemistry going on the court today.”

Ironically, the Totzkes had not practiced as a doubles team until this past Monday.

The Cardinals’ twins team then had to wait Wednesday afternoon to see if their teammates — Hernes and Davis — would fend off a true-second challenge for the final state doubles bid.

The No. 3-seeded Hernes and Davis outlasted No. 2-seeded Kylie Rosenau and Olivia Dutton of Blue Earth Area in Wednesday morning’s semifinal, 6-2, 6-7 (2-7), 7-5.

Mohlenbrock and Bluedorn then rallied for a down-to-the-wire 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) victory over Rosenau and Dutton in the section’s third-place match to earn a true-second challenge.

Hernes and Davis then split the first two sets of the true-second clash with Mohlenbrock and Bluedorn, 6-2 and 3-6, respectively, to create a decisive third set.

Trailing 2-1, Hernes and Davis clicked on all cylinders by utilizing an assortment of line-finding lobs and passes en route to back-to-back service breaks to net the third set by a 6-2 decision to join the Totzkes at the state individual tournament.

In Section 2 singles action, top-seeded Jaelyn Haler of St. James Area coasted to back-to-back 6-1 semifinal set wins over No. 5-seeded Briana Joseph of Fairmont, while No. 3-seeded Marissa Benz of Blue Earth Area stunned No. 2-seeded Claire Nemmers of Fairmont in a marathon three-setter, 7-5, 1-6, 7-5, in the other singles semifinal Wednesday.

“It took me two to three weeks to make my final decision as I went back-and-forth in my head about whether to play singles or doubles in the individual tournament,” said Benz. “I’m really happy about my decision now.”

Haler rolled to a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Benz in the singles championship match, but the Blue Earth Area standout advanced to the state meet when Nemmers defeated Joseph in a battle of Cardinals for third place, 6-0, 6-3.

“It seems so long ago that I played in the 2019 (Class A) state doubles tournament with Ellie Becker due to Covid cancelling state last year,” said Haler, who eclipsed the 100-win career plateau in September.

“Jaelyn has been one of the best I’ve coached in all my years at St. James,” said St. James Area head coach Les Zellmann. “We will miss her and all of our seniors next season.”

Fairmont, the Section 2 team champion, will face Morris Area in the Class A state quarterfinals on Tuesday, Oct. 26, at the Reed-Sweatt Tennis Center in Minneapolis.

2021 Section 2A Individual

Girls Tennis Tournament

Doubles Bracket

• Championship: Libby Totzke-Maggy Totzke (Fairmont) def. Ellie Hernes-Lauren Davis (Fairmont), 6-0, 7-5.

• True-Second Challenge: Ellie Hernes-Lauren Davis (Fairmont) def. Sailor Mohlenbrock-Allison Bluedorn (St. James Area), 6-2, 3-6, 6-2.

• 3rd-Place Match: Mohlenbrock-Bluedorn (St. James Area) def. Kylie Rosenau-Olivia Dutton (Blue Earth Area), 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3).

• Semifinals: Libby Totzke-Maggy Totzke (Fairmont) def. Sailor Mohlenbrock-Allison Bluedorn (St. James Area), 6-2, 7-6 (8-6). Ellie Hernes-Lauren Davis (Fairmont) def. Kylie Rosenau-Olivia Dutton (BEA).

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Singles Bracket

• Championship: Jaelyn Haler (St. James Area) def. Marissa Benz (Blue Earth Area), 6-0, 6-0.

• 3rd-Place Match: Claire Nemmers (Fairmont) def. Briana Joseph (Fairmont), 6-0, 6-3.

• Semifinals: Jaelyn Haler (St. James Area) def. Briana Joseph (Fairmont), 6-1, 6-1. Marissa Benz (Blue Earth Area) def. Claire Nemmers (Fairmont), 7-5, 1-6, 7-5.

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