EAU CLAIRE, WI (NewsDakota.com)- This past weekend on February 23rd/24th, the VCSU Viking Club Tennis team competed in the USTA Northern Section Tennis On Campus Championships, finishing in 2nd place overall and securing 1 of 3 bids to the National Tennis On Campus tournament in Surprise, AZ, April, 11-13th.
The Vikings came into the 14 team tournament as the number 3 seed overall and managed to go 2-0 in Saturday’s pool play, beating Winona 24-10 and then Carleton B 30-6. With these two strong victories in pool play, VCSU was given the number 2 seed for bracket play on Sunday.
They squared off with the Gustavus A team on Sunday morning and won their first round match easily 27-10. This put VCSU in the semi-finals against a very good University of Minnesota Gophers B team. Coach Erik Kringlie commented, “I’ve coached in the Tennis On Campus program for over 10 years and this was by far the best match I’ve ever seen on both side with the Vikings pulling out an incredible win 26-21 in overtime mixed doubles play.”
The women’s doubles team, Clarissa Olson (Senior, Valley City, ND) and Caitlyn Hunter (Sophomore, Williston, ND) got the match started off with a great 6-1 victory. Then Clarissa carried that momentum into women’s singles with another big win, 6-1. The men’s doubles team, Dustin Miller (Senior, Valley City, ND) and Dalton Ondracek (Junior, Valley City, ND) played a great men’s doubles match but lost 5-6 (3-5 tiebreaker). Dalton, who has been playing injured most of the season, gave an impressive performance in the men’s singles, but lost 3-6.
This gave VCSU the lead 20-14 going into the mixed doubles match with VCSU’s Dustin Miller and Caitlyn Hunter. This match was hands-down the best played and most intense to date. Dustin and Caitlyn played some of their best tennis against a skilled Gopher team who managed to pull out the mixed doubles victory 5-6. The match went into overtime play with Dustin and Caitlyn elevating their game to finish off the overall team victory 26-21. This win secured  the Vikings a seat at the TOC National tournament but also gave the Viking their best ever finish at the Northern TOC Sectional tournament.
The Vikings then had to face an even tougher U of M Gopher A team in the finals and despite some impressive play, the players didn’t have enough left in the tank to pull out another amazing win, dropping the final match 12-26 and finishing 2nd overall. Coach Kringlie summarizes, “I cannot say enough about these four athletes and their play this weekend. They have worked hard all winter to get ready for this championship and left everything they had on the court and set a higher bar for feature Viking tennis teams. Seniors and team captains Dustin Miller and Clarissa Olson have played some of their best tennis and as a coach could not be prouder of their accomplishment both on and off the court.”
As if 2nd place at Sectionals and a seat to the National tournament wasn’t enough, Clarissa Olson was voted by her fellow TOC teams as Co-Leader of the Year along with the Gustavus captain, Emily Logan.
Fundraising efforts are currently in progress to help fund the teams travel to Surprise, AZ. If you are willing to help support the team, please contact Coach Kringlie at ek@vcsu.edu or 701-840-2168.
The Viking Club Tennis team now prepares to head to the National Tournament in Surprise, Arizona on April 11th-13th where they will face off against the top 64 teams in the nation. To follow the Vikings during Nationals:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/vikingclubtennis/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/viking_tennis/
USTA TOC National Tournament: http://www.tennisoncampus.com/USTATennisOnCampusNationalChampionship.htm

(L to R) Co-TOC Norther Leaders of the Year: Emily Logan, Gustavus and Clarissa Olson, VCSU Vikings

Senior and Men’s Captain Dustin Miller returns serve against the U of M Gopher B team

Senior and Team Captain Clarissa Olson serving in her singles match against Winona State’s Veronica Johnson

(L to R): Coach Erik Kringlie, Sr. Clarissa Olson (VC), So. Caitlyn Hunter (Williston), Jr. Dalton Ondracek (VC), Sr. Dustin Miller(VC), The VCSU Vikings receiving their 2nd place award and seat to the National tournament