For the third time in five years the Laramie Plainsmen won the Wyoming High School State Tennis Championships last weekend in Gillette.

Laramie was led by state titles won at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles, plus a runner-up finish at No. 3 doubles and a fourth place at No. 1 singles.

Head coach Elizabeth Clower said their run to this state championship started last year.

“When they were at state and ended up 12th place, and I knew they were a lot better team than that. They watched the girls, as a team, work their way towards that state championship. They just made a determination that, that wasn’t going to happen again. That they were going to win state.”

It paid off, as the Plainsmen finished with 45 points after three days of competition. They won the crown by 12 points over Campbell County (33). Jackson (31) took third place.

Clower added, “Their work ethic, their attitude, their desires were high, and their confidence was high. They knew they could do it.”

The No. 1 doubles team of Ky Fike and Ben Graeff breezed through the first two rounds in straight sets. In the semis, they were pushed by a team from Campbell County, but won a tough three-set match, 6-4, 4-6 and 6-4. Fike and Graeff won the title over a team from Jackson, 7-6 (7-2) and 6-3.

Clower said they put on a clinic.

“They were approaching. They were switching. They were communicating. They were doing whatever it took, serving big and back-up if they need to. They made adjustments on the fly, but they were very confident and determined.”

The No. 2 doubles tandem of Noah Dreiling and Miles Stump won their first three matches in straight sets. They dropped three games in the first round, four in the second and three in the semis. Facing a team from Powell in the championship match, Dreiling and Stump lost the first set, 4-6, but won the next two 6-2 and 6-2 for a title.

Clower said Miles and Noah are what I call cerebral players and pointed to their communication at all times in a match.

“They’re both good chess players, and that’s what they did. They played a good chess game.”

At No. 3 doubles, Jason Scott and Eric Van Wig fell short in the championship match in straight sets to a team from Cheyenne Central. Scores were 6-2 and 7-6 with a tie-break in the second set won by Central 7-4.

Kyle Moore posted a 4-2 mark at No. 1 singles and lost to the Nate Fairbanks of Jackson twice at state. He dropped his second round match 6-0, 7-5, but fought back in the consolation portion of the draw to the third place match. Moore played Fairbanks again and won the first set 6-2, but lost 6-4 and 6-4 for a fourth place finish.

Clower mentioned how important those two positions were to their title saying, “Every point counted.”

Laramie had previously won back-to-back titles in 2013 and 2014.

Laramie Lady Plainsmen

The Laramie girls fell just short of their goal of a top four finish. The Lady Plainsmen placed sixth at the State Tennis Championships with 13 points.

The No. 3 doubles team of Hannah Brin and Courtney Hamilton came in second place. They won their first round in straight sets, but then played three consecutive matches that went three sets. Brin and Hamilton won the first two, but lost a tough match in the finals to a team from Kelly Walsh. The scores were 4-6, 6-4 and 6-4.

Clower said, “I think lack of experience kind of got them there… For two girls who started playing tennis Aug. 7, I think it’s pretty amazing.”

No. 2 doubles finished 2-2 at state and fell one match short of the third place match in consolation. The rest of the Laramie girls’ line-up was done after two or three matches.

The Lady Plainsmen were the defending state champs, but had just two players returning with state tournament experience. Both of those players were in new positions within the Lady Plainsmen line-up.

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