WARRIORS ATHLETE OF WEEK: Veteran player focused on tennis
As soon as she was able to walk, Megan Hintz was probably swinging a tennis racket.
Hintz comes from a family of tennis players and her years of playing virtually all year round helped her qualify with the Brainerd Warriors for two Class 2A state team tournaments (2010-11).
“She’s a tennis player, she’s put a lot of time into it,” Warriors coach Ellen Fussy said. “Her folks are tennis players, her brothers play, they’re an active tennis family. They’re on the court a lot all year round.
“Megan’s gifted with great hands. She gets to shots that are unbelievable. Just when you think a point’s going to be over, she gets the ball back. She’s sneaky quick.”
Hintz said her family travels in the summer to play in tournaments.
“It’s a fun thing to do with my family,” she said. “It’s been fun to watch my brothers in their seasons and to be able to hit with my mom and dad.”
This fall, the Warriors didn’t reach the state team tournament but Hintz combined with Sara Wennerstrand to win the Section 8-2A doubles championship.The duo will play in the Class 2A state doubles tournament Oct. 25-26 at the Baseline Tennis Center at the University of Minnesota.
“I’m really excited to get to play with Sara this year,” Hintz said. “I guess having lost half our team we couldn’t expect to go as a team. I’m really excited that I still get to go (to state) at least.”
Hintz-Wennerstrand cruised through five section doubles teams to secure their title.
They opened with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Kaci Walvatne-Morgan Daniels of Fergus Falls. Next, they dispatched Whitney Benscoter-Shantel Kluenenberg of Detroit Lakes 6-0, 6-1.
In the quarterfinals, they defeated Brooke Volpone-Anne Dockendorf of Monticello 6-0, 6-3. Then they beat Olivia Dickinson-Annika Johnson of Bemidji 6-3, 6-0, in the semifinals.
Finally, they beat Leah Wurm-Sam Eisenreich of St. Cloud Tech 6-1, 6-1, for their title.
“We progressively played better and better each match,” Hintz said. “The last one was definitely the best we had. We played with a lot of intensity, and we played really well. I think not even half of the fans watching thought we would end up winning that match. We pretty much dominated it and it was a really exciting final match.
“Even the parents probably figured it would go to a 3-set match, but we just brought our A games. We were both serving really well. We were just being aggressive, taking care of business.”
Hintz believes the two complement each other as a tandem.
“We played together over the past couple years, but more this year than ever before,” Hintz said. “We both like to play at the net. Sara’s a consistent ground-stroker, we both have strong serves. We’re good at picking each other up and we have a lot of fun on the court.”
Fussy said Hintz made another valuable contribution to the team as one of its captains.
“It’s been fun to watch her grow as the season’s gone on with her confidence,” Fussy said. “She was a true leader when we needed her to step in and play No. 1 singles. It’s a hard position to play, and she did it without complaints, and she did a good job.”
Hintz played seven singles matches this season, primarily at No. 1, and relished the opportunity.
“I enjoy playing (singles and doubles),” she said. “I was glad to switch around. It was hard to jump into singles because the past two years all I’ve done is doubles. This year playing singles was a big change but I enjoyed it.”
Other notable efforts:
■ Fallon Ryan, Reilly Peterson and Hannah McKeag, swimming, each won two events and were on a winning relay against Willmar. Ryan added two wins in the Section 8-2A True Team meet and won two events and was on two winning relays against Alexandria. McKeag and Peterson each won two events and were on two winning relays against Alexandria.
■ Allison Kosobud, cross country, finished eighth in the CLC meet to earn all-conference honors.
MIKE BIALKA, sports editor, may be reached at 855-5861. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bertsballpark.