KALISPELL – Billings Senior’s boys and girls put up the most points on Day 1 of the State AA tennis tournament. But the team titles and the singles and doubles championships will all be up for grabs on Friday.
All four brackets played through the first round, the quarterfinals, and two rounds of the loser’s bracket on Thursday.
Senior’s boys collected 10 points. But the Broncs hold only a one-point lead over two-time defending champ Bozeman and Missoula Hellgate. Kalispell Glacier, Missoula Sentinel and Helena could also make a run for the tightly contested title. All three schools are tied with eight points.
In the girls team standings, Senior has built a slightly bigger cushion with 13 points. The six-time defending champion Bozeman Hawks could make it seven in a row with a strong final day. Bozeman and Great Falls CMR are tied for second, two behind Senior with 11 points.
Rain early in the day forced play inside briefly. The girls singles bracket played all of their quarterfinals at the Summit Medical Fitness Center. Bozeman’s defending state champ Heather Sikoski was impressive in a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Billings West’s Stevi Parker. Kalispell Glacier’s Maria Frampton looked strong in her home town, storming past Billings Senior’s Kristen Kraske 6-1, 6-1. Frampton and Sikoski will meet in the semifinals.
Great Falls CMR put two girls into a singles semifinals on the same side of the bracket. Mackenzie George overcame a tough start to beat Billings Senior’s Gigi Montague 0-6, 6-3, 6-3. George will now take on teammate Gail Parambi, who dominated Missoula Sentinel’s Meredith Murdock in the quarterfinals, 6-0, 6-2.
The rest of the quarterfinals could all head back outside at Flathead Valley Community College. Billings Senior advanced a couple boys to the singles semifinals. Jay Montague took down Missoula Sentinel’s Connor D’Anegelo 6-2, 6-4. Senior’s Jesse Dimich-Louvet had a rough first set against another Sentinel Spartan, Jake Treece. But Dimich-Louvet responded to win 3-6, 6-0, 6-2.
Montague will now meet Missoula Big Sky’s Liam Johnson on Friday. Johnson held off Kalispell Glacier freshman Rory Smith in two close sets, 7-5, 6-4. Dimich-Louvet will take on Helena’s Cory Bowlby. Last year’s runner-up surged past Billings Skyview’s Aiden Binau, 6-2, 6-0.
Three girls doubles teams rolled into the semifinals. Billings Senior’s Makenzy Gilsdorf and Annie Woods nearly shut out Missoula Hellgate’s Kate Koenig and Maya Heffernan 6-0, 6-1. In a reverse on the other side of the bracket, Hellgate’s top team of Olivia Panarella and Hannah Worden crushed Senior’s Ashley Bough and Leslie Pazmino 6-1, 6-1. Bozeman’s Annika Linkenbach and Laurel Ward took out Glacier’s McKenna Johnson and Maggie Rudbach 6-1, 6-0.
The defending state champion team had to work a little harder, though. The Helena Capital twin sister pair of Bridget and Fiona Powers held off Great Falls CMR’s Ally Dube and Lauren Rich 7-5, 7-6(3). The Capital champs will meet Senior’s team in the semifinals, while Hellgate’s pair will take on the Bozeman Hawks.
Finally in the boys doubles bracket, Bozeman advanced two teams into the semis. Jackson Pederson, who won last year’s state title alongside Logan Derby, again moved on with his new partner Andrija Martinovic. The Hawks duo beat Missoula Hellgate’s Jesse Howard and Cole Tolleson-Knee 6-2, 6-3. Bozeman’s other pair, Tal Rogers and Levi Collins, squeezed past Billings Skyview’s Ben Ebel and Trevor Dillon 7-5, 6-4.
Missoula Sentinel’s Ethan Violette and Cody Curtis crushed Helena’s Alex Seburn and Even Martin, 6-2, 6-0, to meet Rogers and Collins in Friday’s semifinals. Glacier’s Tyler Keller and Kyle Buckingham took down Hellgate’s Henry Stahl and Wyatt Brown 6-4, 6-2. The Wolfpack squad will face Pederson and Martinovic next.
The action will continue at 8 a.m. Friday. The singles championships are scheduled to start at approximately 11 a.m., with the doubles finals starting at about noon.