Mountain Ridge boys tennis overpowers Bulldogs

There was ice in the shadows on the pavement by the tennis courts at Centennial Park on Saturday.

It was there when the Kingman High School boys tennis team started its match with visiting Mountain Ridge and it was still there when the Northwest Region opening match was over late in the afternoon.

The cold weather and a stiff breeze out of the north should have put a damper on things for the visitors, used to the warm Phoenix weather, but it did not.

Mountain Ridge beat the host Bulldogs 8-1 Saturday.

"We had a tough time today," Kingman coach Darrin Peppard said.

"We let things get into our heads and I think maybe we didn't stay on top of matches as much as we'd like.

I think we probably lost a few matches that we could have won.

"I think our No.

2, 3 and 4 singles were all matches we were capable of winning.

It seemed like if a kid had a style we weren't real comfortable with we just weren't able to adjust."

The score is also deceiving.

Mountain Ridge was the preseason pick to win the region.

"An 8-1 loss doesn't look really close, but we didn't play poorly.

We just made mistakes," Peppard said.

"We hit the ball pretty well.

Even though we lost 8-1 there were positives.

"Jason Amundson lost 6-1, 6-1, but he played very well and the kid he was playing is by far and away the best in the state."

Amundson, a 17-year-old senior, started playing tennis his freshman year and now is the team's No.

1 seed.

He was paired against Nate Conchrane.

"The kid I played today is ranked No.

1 in the region," Amundson said.

"He's the bests in the state."

He admits he's come a long way since that freshman season.

"I was just out there to have fun.

I didn't even care about the varsity," Amundson said.

"Somebody asked me to come out.

They said they needed another player so it was something to do — something to do to be part of a team.

I couldn't hit the ball at all.

I couldn't serve.

I couldn't do anything."

It was a year later that Amundson began to take the sport seriously.

"My sophomore year I got in my first varsity match," Amundson said.

"That was when I realized how much fun varsity is.

"It's the first thing I've taken seriously as a sport."

Each year has been a developmental, learning experience for Amundson.

"Last year I took the coach's summer camp.

I did that everyday in summer," Amundson said.

"I'm a lot more serious now.

"I played football through my sophomore year, but decided to stick to tennis and get better."

In the immediate future Amundson has set some lofty goals.

"I want to go to state for singles," Amundson said.

"I want to get seeded in the regionals and go all the way.

That's my main goal right now."

But, there are long-term ambitions as well.

Amundson will be joining his older brother, Chris, who is currently enrolled at NAU and played football when he was at Kingman.

"I've already been accepted at NAU.

When I go to college I still want to play tennis," Amundson said.

"I hope I can do something there.

Walk on or something."

In the immediate future Amundson can look forward to another tough test this week when the team travels to another Northwest Region power, Deer Valley, on Friday.

Then Saturday the Bulldogs will be at Goldwater for their third regional match of the season.

Boys tennis results

Mountain Ridge 8, Kingman 1

Singles

Nate Cochrane, M, def.

Jason Amundson 6-1, 6-1; Justin Mohrig, M, def.

Craig Owen, 6-2, 6-3; Leo Sielski, M, def.

David Henz, 7-5, 6-0; Christian Pena, M, def.

Stephen Field 7-6 (7-5), 6-2; Sike Pan, M, def.

Mike Essig 6-3, 6-2; Rob Heffernan, M, def.

Ryan Henderson 6-2, 7-6 (7-2).

Doubles

Chochrane and Mohrig, M, def.

Owen and Essig 8-2; Amundson and Henz, K, def.

Pena and Pan 8-4; Sielski and Heffernan, M, def.

Field and Henderson 8-5.