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New coach has high hopes for 2014 Lady Lynx tennis program
By By Jill Meier
Challenger editor

August 26. 2014 11:31AM
They may be a relatively young squad, but the Lady Lynx return to the court this season with a substantial amount of varsity tennis experience.

Led by two returning seniors – Makenzie Marso and Logan Hawkins – new head coach Chris Dummermuth has high hopes for the team. Dummermuth takes over the helm from Jesse Gladis, who relocated to North Carolina from Brandon Valley after 10 seasons. “I feel like I inherited a good situation,” Dummermuth says.

The “good situation” Dummermuth speaks of is a program that took runner-up honors in both Eastern South Dakota and Metro conferences last season, capped off with a seventh place team finish at state. “I have high hopes, and it’s good to have young girls going in that have that experience,” she said.

Dummermuth also brings considerable experience in her new role as the head coach of the Lady Lynx. For 18 seasons, she served as the boy’s head coach at Sioux Falls Lincoln, retiring from a 35-year teaching career in the elementary and middle school ranks in 2005.

Hawkins, one of the two returning senior letter winners, is excited to learn this season from Dummermuth. “She’s really good,” Hawkins said. “We were sad to see Gladis leave but we’re pretty excited to see what she can do for us.”

And that’s the same feeling Dummermuth got from her team the first day she met them.

“When I drove up for that first day of practice, the girls were already on the court before 7:30 a.m., so that tells you a lot,” she said. “They want to get better and they’re good listeners.”

Two of the five returning juniors – Jessica Sadler and Hanna Mutschelknaus – also return to the varsity ranks for a second season. Dummermuth said Sadler will fill the No. 1 singles slot for the Lady Lynx.

Two first-year players, seniors Emily Harris and Michaela Beckman, and three other juniors – Katie Wright, Emily Rief and Jessica Berg – along with sophomores Emily Konz (who saw playing time at the varsity level in 2013), Emily Crosby, Lara Ellis, Chandler Harstad, Nicole Priola, Kiara Valentien and Randa Mikkelson are all vying for a varsity role.

“We have very strong representation in our top six,” Dummermuth said. “It’s exciting right now, as we’re just practicing on forming a cohesive group. Positive attitude, best effort and good sportsmanship - those are the three things that we’re keying in on at this point.”

The O’Gorman Knights is the team to beat, Dummermuth said.

“O’Gorman is always phenomenal, and they’re strong all the way through,” she said. “That being said, we want to play them, because that challenges us to be better.”

Although Dummermuth is unfamiliar with the ESD Conference teams, she has seen some of the girls play through her work with the United States Tennis Association (USTA).

“I’m kind of at a loss (in ranking the ESD teams), but a couple of the girls have expressed to me that they’ve got winning the ESD in mind, and that’s sounds good to me,” she said. “I have high hopes for these girls … and certainly would like to occupy some spots on the podium. And as a team, I think realistically we have a very good chance.”

The Lady Lynx moved up from 11th at the state tournament to seventh last year. “We want to get better, be healthy and be doing the right things to improve from seventh,” she said.

Marso is optimistic about the team’s promise this season. “I think we will definitely have a solid varsity this year,” she predicts.

The positive attitude around the tennis complex and the community has Dummermuth excited for the 2014 season.

“Brandon Valley has been taking steps forward year after year. Between the complex and the way things have been established and having the administrative support I’ve had, has been unbelievable,” Dummermuth said. “It’s a community effort here – a big town with a small-town feel yet – and that’s what’s so cool.”
Aug. 22 host Brookings/Watertown/RCS
Aug. 25 host S.F. Roosevelt
Aug. 28 vs. Pierre at Rapid City
Aug. 28 vs. St. Thomas More at Rapid City
Aug. 29 at R.C. Central/R.C. Invite
Aug. 30 at R.C. Invite
Sept. 2 at O’Gorman
Sept. 6 at Huron Quad
Sept. 9 host Luverne
Sept. 12-13 host BV Team Invite
Sept. 15 at S.F. Lincoln
Sept. 22 host Madison/Yankton
Sept. 27 Metro Conf. at Sioux Falls
Sept. 30 at Mitchell
Oct. 2 ESD Conf. at Watertown
Oct. 9-11 Class AA State Tourney at Rapid City

The Lady Lynx tennis team will be led by two returning seniors, Logan Hawkins and Makenzie Marso. Photo by Jill Meier

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