Olson earns return to State
SPENCER – From the time she stepped off the state doubles tennis stage in 2010, the goal for Estherville Lincoln Central’s Erin Olson in 2011 was to qualify for state in singles.
On Thursday, the senior accomplished that goal with second-place finish at the Class 1A Regional in Spencer.
Olson becomes the first ELC girls’ tennis player to qualify for state two years in a row.
“It’s really a big accomplishment and I’m thankful for all the people that got me here-my coaches, parents and teammates,” said Olson.
However, she said her biggest fan is Grandma (Alice) Olson who has only missed two of her meets during her high school career.
Olson, who received the No. 1 seed for the tournament, began Thursday with a 6-0, 6-2 win over Storm Lake’s Emmerly Mai. She then defeated Cherokee’s Sara Ruehle 6-0, 6-0 followed by a 6-2, 6-0 win over Spirit Lake-Okoboji’s Hannah Coenen.
In the match for first place, Olson faced SL-O’s K.J. Veldman. Veldman entered the day as the No. 2 seed. She placed sixth at the state meet a year ago.
Olson won their first meeting of the year, but this time Veldman came out on top 6-4, 6-4.
Olson said she had some good passing shots against Veldman.
“I also had some good ground strokes, but I need to move her more with ground strokes,” Olson said.
ELC coach Larry Kirchner said Veldman is tough to get shots around and she did a better job at the net.
“It was just a good match,” he said.
Olson earned an eighth-place state medal in doubles in 2010 with teammate Kaylene Vos. The state tournament is June 2-3 in Waterloo.
ELC’s other players didn’t fare as well on Thursday with all losing in the first round.
Allison Hevern and Amanda Heinrichs took on LeMars’ Stephanie Young and Catie Meis. The Bulldog duo, seeded fourth, won 6-1, 6-3.
Tessa Bernholtz and Kaylee Schoon took on Storm Lake’s Amanda Kavan and Samantha Kavan. The ELC pair kept the match close in the first set, but lost 6-4, 6-1.
In ELC’s other match, Bailey Hagen lost 6-1, 7-5 to Cherokee’s Denise Freed.
“Bailey played extremely well,” said Kirchner.
Hevern, Heinrichs, Bernholtz and Schoon are all seniors competing on varsity for the first time this season. Coach Kirchner will look for a new group to step up next year.
“We really had a good group this year,” said Kirchner. “They stepped up and exceeded my expectations. They’re a fun group and entertaining.”
Hagen, a sophomore from Emmetsburg, along with junior Corin Swalve, who was injured at the end of this season, are expected to be the top returning players for ELC in 2012.