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Spring Sports Preview: Strong senior class leads the way for talented Three Forks tennis team

The Three Forks High School Tennis team reached new levels of success, winning the 2023 Southeast Divisional Championship in Billings. As the program continues to ascend, the Wolves will welcome back 12 returning players for the 2024 season.

As the team prepared for their season-opening event on March 22 in Manhattan, Head Coach Janna Lauver said that the weather was great for the first two weeks of practice, which was incredible.

"Getting everyone on the court quickly to do drills and work with a regulation height net feels so good. Our first-year players are learning quickly, and being able to learn on a court instead of a gym floor is priceless. Our returners are hitting hard already and have got some seeding matches in already, so we know what level they are to start the season," she said.

It was a strong turnout for this year's team, with 19 student-athletes, including five returning seniors, two returning juniors, and five returning sophomores. Lauver said they also have three new sophomores, including two exchange students, and they will be rounding out the team with four new freshmen.

"We are just excited to keep building the team. People would love to see us bring in eighth graders like the other spring sports, but we just don't have enough court time or enough courts," she said.

According to Lauver, it is a strong senior class with Ali Kotter, Sarah Christman, Sophie Meskimen, Maddie Griffiths, and Karin Williams all returning.

"Ali, Sarah, Sophie, Maddie, and Karin started with returning assistant coach Bobby Lauver and I during our first full year of coaching in 2021, and it's been an absolute honor to watch them grow as a team. They each have strengths that bring the team together and we are encouraging them to bring the underclassmen under their wing and demonstrate skills and drills. They've taken the responsibility of leading the whole team very seriously, and in the first two weeks, we've seen the positive impact," she said.

As the team prepares for the early events of 2024, Lauver said the focus has been on improving skills, speed, and agility.

"We know other teams watched us take the first-place division win last May, and we want to keep working towards playing good matches from start to finish. Working on consistency and finishing each point and not giving away points, games, and matches," Lauver said.

Kotter, Malia Eriksson, Christman, and Meskimen have all been playing seeding matches at the start of this year's season. Lauver said this is to establish a top-four singles ladder so the younger players can start working up.

"All four did well at Divisionals last year, winning points for the team, and Ali and Malia advanced to state. I want all of them to really enjoy this season, practice hard, and play smart tennis," Lauver said.

After losing their number one doubles team of Ruby Warden and Alicia Deriana to graduation in 2023, Lauver said they are building up this year's senior doubles team of Griffiths and Williams, who won two matches at last year's state meet, including a win over the number two team from Missoula Loyola.

"This means we are working some number two doubles combinations with junior Claire Cutler to find a good partner for her, and we have lots of great options, but we need to find the right fit," Lauver said.

This year also features the return of assistant coach Bobby Lauver.

"We have enjoyed having him at practice, making all the girls laugh and have fun, and also working really hard. He's loud, but he loves tennis and getting the team up and moving, especially during the first two weeks at 6 a.m. conditioning practice," Janna said.

The team will next compete on April 4 in Manhattan against Broadwater (Townsend) and Jefferson (Boulder).


Three Forks opened the season going 11-5 on March 22 in Manhattan.

Kotter, Eriksson, and Meskimen had two wins in singles play for the Wolves. Meskimen defeated Poppy Tole of Lone Peak 8-1 and won 8-0 over Clara Yap of Jefferson.

Eriksson won 8-0 over Addie Coates of Jefferson and won 8-3 over Averee Rich of Granite.

Kotter won 8-2 over Mya Flores of Granite and 8-2 over Rich.

In other singles action, Tommi Kirwan won 6-1 over Remi Lucero of Granite, and Christman won 8-4 over Coates.

In doubles play, Williams and Griffith won 8-6 over Vera Grabow and Catherine Coleta of Lone Peak and 8-2 over Addy Leary and Clara Genger of Jefferson.

Cutler and Meskimen picked up an 8-1 win over Ella Tallon and Ramsey Smith of Granite.