Bethany Ellis advances
by RANDY OLSON
Bethany Ellis will wrap up her girls’ tennis career at Sauk Centre in style, as the senior will compete in next week’s Class 1A state meet in Minneapolis beginning Thursday.
Ellis clinched her spot at state with a very close, hard-fought 7-5, 7-6 (7-5 tiebreaker) win over Melrose Area’s third-seeded Elisha Engelmeyer. Out of 18 competitors from across Section 6A in the singles bracket, Ellis was seeded second.
“Being seeded so high out of all the girls in the bracket brought a lot of pressure,” said Ellis about her playoff run.
“I just try to put the pressure aside and play my type of tennis.”
In her opening-round match on Monday in Sartell, Ellis breezed past LP-GE/USA’s McKenzie Barth 6-0, 6-1. In the quarterfinals, Ellis beat seventh-seeded Hannah Freske of Minnewaska Area 6-3, 7-6 (7-2 tiebreaker).
Top-seeded Taylor Kraemer of Osakis won the section title with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Ellis in the championship on Tuesday night.
The opening round of the state meet begins at 8 a.m. at the Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis facility in Minneapolis. The finals take place the following day starting at the same time.
Ellis has been playing tennis ever since the fifth grade.
“Growing up my mom played tennis with my brothers and sisters and friends, so she wanted to teach me to play. I really liked it from the start, so I decided to try it with summer rec and had a lot of fun with it,” she recalled.
During summer months Ellis has had to balance between off-season basketball and tennis, which has been a huge time commitment.
“Both sports require a lot of practice, so I didn’t get to any camps, but I played in some of the surrounding towns’ summer tennis tournaments. They had some good competition because a lot of them have college athletes involved.”
A hard-nosed competitor, Ellis does not shy away from tough opponents.
“My favorite teams to play are Osakis and Melrose, because you always know you’re going to have a tough match.”
Ellis has been a part of the tennis team piling up 44 wins in the past three seasons, starting as a number-four singles player as a sophomore and the rising to be the number two singles player last year. She held the number one singles spot from the very start of the 2013 season.
“This year has already been a great senior season with the team doing well with another winning record. I’m going to try to stay focused and go into the state meet trying to keep winning,” she added.