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Langworthy breaks through

Joelle Langworthy is the first Laker girls' tennis player to qualify for the Section meet in nine years. (Brian Basham/DL Newspapers)

It was more than a suitable way to end the season for what turned out to be an impressive and improved Detroit Lakes girls' tennis team.

After several seasons of entering the Sub-Section team and individual tournament with no expectations, junior Joelle Langworthy burst through that barrier after qualifying for the Section 8-2A playoffs.

It was more than just an advancement for Langworthy, it was a statement for the Laker team, after they started the rebuilding process of DL girls' tennis.

Now, the foundation has been laid.

"It's looking like a bright future," said second-year head coach Kris Omberg. "It's been a fun and interesting season. Hopefully this will get more younger kids interested in tennis (at DL)."

Langworthy won her first two sub-section matches in singles competition, and then fell in her final two to finish fourth.

But that was enough to send her to sections, the first time a Laker made it that far since (ironically) Langworthy's coach -- Omberg, who made it to sections in 2000 along with teammate Lori Hegg in doubles, where they placed third.

Omberg and Hegg each went to sections in 1999 as singles, as the former finished third and the latter second.

Langworthy's accomplishment also satisfied her hunger for wanting to make sections after she just missed it by one slot last year.

"I didn't want to just get close again," Langworthy said. "That was my goal, to make the sections this year. In the past, everyone went into sub-sections with no expectations of advancing, this shows we can do it."

Langworthy lost in the first round of sections Monday to two-time Section 8-2A champion Parul Kapoor of St. Cloud Tech, 6-0, 6-1.

Langworthy led in a couple of sets and took one from the two-time section champion, but more importantly, she gained some valuable experience and confidence in the process.

"I just went out and tried my best, being the underdog and all," Langworthy said.

The doubles team of Brianna Seebold and India Fritz lost in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 in the first round of the sub-sections, while Ashley Syvertson dropped her singles match in round one, as well.

The Lakers lost to Alexandria 6-1 in the first round of team competition, with Langworthy winning her top singles match.