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Warriors Athlete of Week: Person, Jacobson clicked as No. 1 doubles team

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Heidi Jacobson (left) and Taya Person compiled a 24-5 record at No. 1 doubles for the Brainerd Warriors this season. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch Video2 / 2

One was more of a risk-taker. The other's strength was consistency.

Sometimes the one who wasn't a risk-taker became consistent and the one who was consistent became the risk-taker.

Taya Person's and Heidi Jacobson's skills complemented each other. Toss in the fact both can serve, are solid on groundstrokes and are capable of playing at the net and you have the ingredients for a winning doubles combination.

That's what made the senior tandem a successful No. 1 doubles team for the Brainerd Warriors this fall. They finished the season 24-5, captured the North Subsection 8-2A doubles title and placed fourth in the section tournament. In addition, they were instrumental in helping the Warriors compile a 19-3 record in dual meets in 2018.

Not bad for your first, and only year, playing together as a doubles team. Both had played doubles with different partners in 2017.

"We thought well, both of them come with a year of doubles experience, let's put them together and see how they do," Warriors coach Lisa Salo said. "They just clicked right away. I think the chemistry between the two of them just clicked.

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Heidi Jacobson

  • Sport: Tennis
  • Position: No. 1 doubles
  • Year: Senior
  • Age: 17
  • Height: 5-8
  • Career highlight: Playing in 2018 Section 8-2A Tournament
  • Other sports: Lacrosse
  • Grade-point average: 3.3
  • Favorite class: Human Biology
  • Favorite food: Chicken wild rice soup
  • Favorite movie: "Zootopia"
  • Favorite TV show: "Friends"
  • Favorite restaurant: Chipotle
  • Future plans: Hopes to attend North Dakota State University, major in architecture
  • Parents: Dan Jacobson and Nancy Jacobson

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Taya Person

  • Sport: Tennis
  • Position: No. 1 doubles
  • Year: Senior
  • Age: 17
  • Height: 5-5
  • Career highlight: In 2017 section doubles tournament, Person and partner Libby Kurtzman scored a golden set in one match, which means winning the set without losing a point
  • Grade-point average: 3.94
  • Favorite classes: Music Theory and Orchestra
  • Favorite food: Sushi
  • Favorite movie: "The Lego Movie"
  • Favorite TV show: "Friends"
  • Favorite restaurant: Chipotle
  • Future plans: Plans to attend Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, study graphic design and illustration
  • Favorite tennis player: Roger Federer
  • Parents: Todd and Tonya Person

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"Taya is a little more of risk-taker at times than Heidi and Heidi might be a little more consistent player. Sometimes as the season went on we found that shifted—that Heidi was the risk-taker and Taya ended up being the consistent player. They were able to balance each other out when needed."

The duo swept through the subsection tournament. In the semifinals, they defeated Ellie Colbeck-Kaitlyn Richey (Fergus Falls) 7-5, 6-3 to reach the finals where they beat Taylor Offerdahl-Lexi Leitner (Bemidji) 6-3, 1-6, 6-2.

"We started off strong in the championship match," Person said. "We had a little dip in the second set. It took a lot between the two of us to pull through that match which we knew we could. During the set break after the second set, we took a minute to think more about why we were there, just regroup, go out and finish strong."

Then it was on to the section. In the quarterfinals, they defeated Grace Middendorf-Taryn Czech (Apollo) 6-2, 6-4. In the semifinals, they lost to Hannah Bengston-Megan Nelson (Becker) 6-4, 6-2. For third place, they lost to Maggie Kipka-Kate Corrigan (Foley) 7-6 (5), 6-1.

"It was a little disappointing at first, but after that, I thought about it for a while that fourth is a big deal for the section," Jacobson said. "I think we did as good as we could. I don't regret anything. All of it was worth it."

Salo said the fact Person is a left-hander is an automatic advantage because the spin on her serve is different than a right-hander's. Another of Person's attributes was a powerful backhand.

"We always said each year that Taya's is the strongest backhand, the most technically sound backhand we've ever seen in a player," Salo said. "She is so solid, so consistent. Most players don't have a backhand like Taya. Players try to pick on her backhand. For Taya, that's a significant strength. Players realize that fairly quickly and it's hard for them to adjust."

A right-hander, Jacobson is also solid in her serving and groundstrokes and possesses natural ability.

"There's not a hitch in any of her strokes," Salo said. "Heidi's very natural in all of her strokes. There's not one stroke significantly stronger than another. She's technically sound in a balanced way. Her serve is able to set Taya up at the net. Hence that's why they were so successful.

"One of Heidi's strengths is her reach. She's taller. She has a good wingspan. She's able to get great reach up at the net. It's hard to pass her."

Person finished with a 28-5 individual record this season and was 88-24 in her Warrior career.

"It was a lot of fun," Person said of her career. "The coaches are very passionate and I think that helped our team a lot. We all just enjoyed being out there. Overall I had a really good experience. Competing at tournament time was my favorite weeks of the season."

Jacobson compiled a 26-4 individual record this fall and finished her career with a 54-5 mark.

"Playing tennis for the Warriors was awesome because the team was so great and because they pushed me, and I pushed them," Jacobson said. "We all grew together. I think we all accomplished a lot."

Other notable efforts:

• Britney Fletcher, tennis, finished fourth in the Section 8-2A singles tournament.

• Sam Miller, football, passed for 116 yards and two scores and rushed for a TD vs Sartell and rushed for 107 yards and a TD and threw a TD pass vs Moorhead.

• Avery Eckman, volleyball, had 27 kills vs. Rocori and 53 in five games in the Big Axe Tournament.

• Jacquilyn Rude, swimming, won two events and was on two winnings relays vs. Fergus Falls.

• Avery Eckman, volleyball, had 27 kills vs. Rocori.