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Fondrick brothers break long DL state drought

The Fondrick brothers Alex and Isaac, earned a state berth in the Class 1A meet in doubles. It’s the first time in a long time the Lakers will be represented in the state tennis meet. BRIAN BASHAM/RECORD

Over the years when brothers Isaac and Alex Fondrick would get bored, they usually had the solution – they’d go play tennis.

It was a good formula for some brother bonding, while playing the sport they both loved.

“We’d go out and play at midnight sometimes if we were bored,” said the elder Isaac, who just graduated from Detroit Lakes High School. “If we’re sitting around doing nothing, we’d just get up and go play tennis.”

All that time on the DLHS tennis courts has not only paid off by killing some boredom for the brothers, but it has translated into the Laker boys’ tennis team’s first state berth in decades.

The Fondrick doubles team secured a Class 1A state berth last week by winning the True Second match in the Section 8-1A doubles tournament.

It’s the first – if not only – Laker doubles team to make state in years.

Thus far, no one has been able to come up with a state boys’ tennis player or players who qualified for the state meet.

The Fondricks may have just doubled DL’s presence in the state meet in one fell swoop.

“It’s pretty cool,” said Alex, who is a DL sophomore. “I wouldn’t have wanted to go to state with anyone else.”

One of the main ingredients for a successful doubles team is chemistry and obviously, being brothers and playing throughout their lives together, it’s been key to the duo’s historic run to the state.

The goal of making state for the Fondricks came two years ago, when Isaac was two matches away from winning the section title.

Since then, the two Fondricks started making plans of combining their talent and started working on their communication on the court.

“Alex and I played doubles during the summer the last two years,” Isaac said. “We played so much that we didn’t really even have to talk on the court, because we knew where each other would be.”

To start the 2013 season, the Fondricks decided to focus solely on their doubles matches and forgo any singles play, in which they played much of last year.

It was key, as they lost only one match during the regular season as DL’s top doubles team, before losing in the Section championship.

“Two summers ago, we couldn’t win any doubles matches,” Isaac said. “But after playing doubles together, we started to figure out where each one was going to be on the court.”

Creating that chemistry during the regular season was crucial in their development, so that’s why both only played singles once, which occurred during DL’s Mid-State Conference championship.

“It’s hard to go from singles to doubles and adjust, so we just focused on doubles and kept on winning,” Alex said.

The brothers had to regain their composure after losing the section championship match to Crookston’s Travis Vatthauer and Bobby Tiedmann.

They were able to do just that, as they won the True Second match going away.

“We talked in between the matches and we knew we couldn’t lose and end it, because we worked so hard to get where we were,” Alex said.

“It was a lot more fun to earn our way into state, anyway,” Isaac added.

Although both Lakers were relieved to make it, they are not satisfied to just make state.

“We want to keep on winning,” Isaac said. “This is a good statement for DL tennis. I hope it starts something here.”

That’s exactly what is already happening, according to Laker head coach Patrick Starbeck.

“It’s really fired up all the players and hopefully it sparks them to start playing more in the summer like Alex and Isaac do,” Starbeck said. “Tennis is starting to become a primary sport for more and more kids and hopefully this will help.”

The Fondrick brothers will start their state quest June 4-7, at the Reed Sweatt Center in Minneapolis.

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.