It was a very good season for the Osceola Chieftain tennis team. No, they did not win the Middle Border conference title nor did they qualify anyone for the State tournament but it was still a very good season. First of all, they had a season during this era of uncertainty. Coach Beth Friedrichsen also had 29 athletes on her 2020 roster and loses only five of them to graduation. Osceola did place third in Middle Border conference play and the future is certainly bright for the Chieftains.
“The bottom line is that we were able to get through the entire season and man oh man, are we grateful,” Friedrichsen said. “It was a little nerve-wracking not knowing day to day when it would come to an end, but the girls stayed healthy and were able to play some great tennis.”
Osceola competed in the Sub-Sectional and Sectional tournament last week and got some impressive performances. Hope Lowney (No. 1 singles) lost her match in a three set thriller to Bailey Albrightson of Baldwin-Woodville 4-6, 6-0, 6-2. Sophia LaVigne (No. 2 singles) won her first match at Sub-Sectionals with a 6-1, 6-0 decision before falling in the next round to Hannah Bottolfson of Amery 6-4-6-3.
“Sophia made Hannah Bottolfson work for her win at our Sub-Sectional and Bottolfson ended up being the Sectional champion at No. 2 singles so she automatically moves into the State tournament,” Friedrichsen noted.
Caitlin Karun (No. 3 singles) won her first match in tournament play (4-6, 6-1, 6-2) before falling in her second match. Autumn Guckenberger (No. 4 singles) won her Sub-Sectional match before falling to Brittany Martin of Eau Claire Regis in the next round.
“We for sure have the depth at singles because we start looking at Autumn Guckenberger, Jordan Vetter and Mazie Gillespie for the spot that Caitlin Karun is leaving,” Friedrichsen explained. “That is all really exciting but we have some work to do.”
The Osceola doubles teams of Kathryn Marek and Rachel Olson (No. 1), Jam Dannenmueller and Morgan Feldt (No. 2) and Shaw Styles and Alexis See (No.3) all lost in their first match of the tournament. The match that Dannenmueller and Feldt had went down to the wire before the Barron team of Lainey Zurn and Grace Beyer was able to prevail (6-2, 4-6, 6-2).
“Our last match was a tough loss against Barron, but I felt like Jam and I could be proud of how we played throughout the season,” Feldt said. “I am thankful that we were able to have an entire season through covid and it’ll be difficult to say goodbye to OHS tennis. The program has taught me lessons that I’ll hold with me forever.”
“I like to have strong doubles teams that know each other and work well together,” Friedrichsen said. “Jam and Morgan were a team that did just that. Given some more time and experience they could have had much more success.”
Now it is time to take a peek at the 2021 season. Osceola will have a lot of returning varsity experience. If the athletes are able to hone their skills in the off-season the Chieftains may be ending their season at the State meet next year.