HIBBING -- Val Meschke and Kayla Lenz made history Tuesday for the Pequot Lakes Patriots girls' tennis team.
The Patriots' doubles team captured the Section 7, Class 1A doubles championship with three victories at the Mesaba Athletic Club.
It was the first section tennis title in program history. Pequot's Ashley Meschke twice qualified for state as a section singles runner-up.
"It was one of the goals they set early in the year," Patriots coach Monica Sergent said. "Val had this goal since seventh grade. For her senior year her two goals were to reach 150 career wins and make it to state, so we're pretty excited she accomplished those.
"These two girls work so hard in the offseason. In the winter they both play a couple times a week. In the summer they play 6-7 days a week. During the season they stay after practice at least three nights a week and get together once or twice on weekends and hit. They've put in the extra time and effort it takes to get to this level."
Sergent said it took blood, sweat and tears to win the championship.
"Val's hands were bleeding from gripping her racket so tight, Kayla's knee was bleeding from diving for balls, they were both sweating and we all were crying," Sergent said.
"I think their mental toughness and communication as partners was the key. They talked between every point. They analyzed and planned strategy. They wanted it. They left it all on the court. I'm very proud of them."
Meschke-Lenz are 8-1 as a doubles team. Meschke's season record is 30-3 in singles and doubles, Lenz's is 31-2.
"They didn't play together a lot during the regular season but the fact they're hitting partners made up for that," Sergent said.
The area's other section entrants lost their first matches and were eliminated -- Aitkin's Emily Walz and Pequot's Kali Welu in singles and the Crosby-Ironton doubles team of Betsy Wehseler-Farrah Steinke. Welu finished the season 27-5 and her career with 94 wins.
Section 7, Class 1A Tournament
Quarterfinals -- Katrina Sacchetti (Virginia) def. Kali Welu (PL) 6-1, 6-3
Quarterfinals -- Jackie Claypool (Duluth Marshall) def. Emily Walz (Aitkin) 6-0, 6-0
Quarterfinals -- Val Meschke-Kayla Lenz (PL) def. Leslie Ohman-Angie Shields (Greenway) 6-1, 6-2
Quarterfinals -- Haley Prittinen-Molly Bonner (Virginia) def. Betsy Wehseler-Farrah Steinke (C-I) 6-3, 6-4
Semifinals -- Meschke-Lenz (PL) def. Danielle Aluni-Natalie Urick (Virginia) 7-5, 6-3
Finals -- Meschke-Lenz (PL) def. Jenna Olson-Megan Carlson (Pine City) 6-3, 6-4
Next meet -- Meschke-Lenz in Class 1A state tournament Oct. 29-30 at Nicollet Tennis Club, Minneapolis.
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