Blackfoot’s ‘Dirty Dozen’ ready to bring home tennis titles
BLACKFOOT — A mere hours after the Blackfoot High School tennis team qualified 12 players for this weeks state tennis tournament head coach Brint Jefferis had a nickname for his state bound group.
"The Dirty Dozen."
A year after finishing a half a point short of a boys team title, the Broncos are poised to make sure the hardware comes back to Blackfoot.
The doubles pair of Jacob Harris and Tanner Norton are a big reason for the Broncos success.
Harris and Norton were partners last season and when this season started Harris was a singles player. But when the Broncos reconvened after spring break Harris and Norton were teammates again.
The success began immediately.
The duo ran through the remainder of the season undefeated as district champs. When action begins on Friday the pair has a great shot to win a state championship.
Harris and Norton are joined by No. 2 doubles team of Jared Evans and Ryan Kunz.
Kunz and Evans battled through the district tournament consolation bracket to earn the consolation championship and the state berth.
The pair will add points to the Broncos team score and is more than capable of pulling off an upset or two.
Daylan Bird, who was partnered with Norton when the season began played very well in singles down the stretch and finished runner up in the district tournament last week.
Bird is the lone boys singles player to qualify for the state tournament.
Holly Gunderson was the lone girls singles player to qualify as well and Jefferis said after her win at the district tournament that she had the best tennis she had played all season.
"Holly played the best I have ever seen her play," Jefferis said. "She was on fire. I am so happy that she was able to qualify for state and now get the chance to see what she can do on the big stage."
Three other doubles teams also qualified for the Broncos.
The mixed doubles pairs of Baylee Gorder and Scott Cannon came home as runners up at the district tournament and Stephen Hong and Emily Jensen, the No. 2 mixed doubles team also qualified after winning the consolation championships.
Both teams will be counted on to make some noise and accrue team points for both teams as the Broncos look for a team title sweep.
Of all the players on the team that qualified, Rachel Cannon may have the toughest weekend of them all.
Cannon, also a member of the Blackfoot track and field team will compete in both the 1600 and 3200m runs and the girls doubles matches, that is if the schedules line up just right.
Cannon and her partner Anna Inskeep won the consolation title at last week's district tournament to get into the state tournament, but Cannon may not be able to compete as the 4A state track meet is held at the same time on the other side of the Boise.
If Cannon's races and tennis matches are at the same time Cannon will have to decide which she wants to do.
The Broncos are going to be one of the favorites to take home the boys team title by the time the action ends on Saturday afternoon. Led by Harris and Norton there is no reason the dream should not become a reality.
The 2014 4A state tennis tournament begins on Friday morning at 8 a.m. at Timberline High School, Julia Davis Park and Fort Boise in Boise. The finals and consolation finals take place on Saturday.