NWA Fall Sports Notebook — Week 1

Bentonville High

Bentonville’s boys tennis team came away from Arkansas Tech’s courts with a little bit more than the inaugural Arkansas Team Tournament trophy last weekend.

The Tigers also came away with a glimpse of what to expect in the upcoming weeks as the regular season progresses.

“I think this is going to get us ready for conference play a lot sooner than we normally would,” Bentonville coach Nick Nersesian said. “It gave me the flexibility to mix and match with some people, in both doubles and singles, and chart the caliber of athletes we played.

“The kids are improving, and that’s all I can ask. I’m hoping it will pay dividends down the road.”

The tournament was the first of its kind in the state’s high school ranks because it paired teams against each other rather than typical tournament format. Bentonville claimed a 5-4 victory over Fayetteville in the championship match — the same score the Tigers had to defeat the Purple’Dogs in a regular match two days earlier.

“Personally, I think the tournament went really well with the team format,” Nersesian said. “I received good feedback from it, especially from the central Arkansas coaches, because it made for some challenging matches. We mixed our lines up and played well enough to win it.

“The only difference between Saturday’s match against Fayetteville and the earlier match was we stuck with our game plan. I wanted a good idea of where we stood as far as conference play goes to see if we can make a run at the title.”

Nersesian singled out Vikram Balasekaran for his work in doubles play when he is normally a singles player, and credited the play of Mason Lane, who later said it was “the best time he ever had in tennis.”

— Henry Apple • @NWAHenry

Bentonville West

Bentonvile West’s boys golf team needed only six matches to match what it accomplished the entire season.

The Wolverines picked up their second victory of the season Monday when it defeated Van Buren in an 18-hole match at Eagle Crest Golf Club in Alma. West shot a team score of 321, 19 strokes better than the Pointers.

“I’m pleased with where we are at this point,” West coach Curt Yarrington said. “I thought at the start of the season we might not win that many matches, but we would be a lot closer in matches we play.”

Yarrington praised his top three players for their steady play so far this season, and Ethan Martinez has been consistent by shooting in the low- to mid-40s over nine holes. The other two golfers among the top six have struggled with consistency.

“We have our good days and our bad days,” Yarrington said. “The top three players are playing a little better right now than they did last season, and the other three have played a lot better because they had the most improvement to make.”

— Henry Apple • @NWAHenry

Rogers High boys golf

The Mounties came up with a huge win earlier this week, knocking off defending Class 7A state champion Fayetteville at Lost Springs Golf and Athletic Club. <br><br>

Coach Marcus Alexander said it’s big for his team, after losing by more than 20 strokes less than two weeks earlier in Fayetteville.<br><br>

“It was big for our program and big for the team’s confidence,” Alexander said. “I don’t think it’s a mystery how good Fayetteville is. They won state last year and they’re just as good this year.<br><br>

How the Mounties were able to do it wasn’t lost in the shuffle either, Alexander said. Rogers shot a nine-hole team score of 149 — two shots better than Fayetteville. But the Mounties’ top three scores came from a freshman and two sophomores, too.<br><br>

Sophomore DS Lee fired a team-best even-par 36, while sophomore Marc Sussman and freshman Andrew Fakult each shot one-over 37.<br><br>

“Our first two guys didn’t have the greatest day, shooting 39 and 40 and that’s unusual for them,” Alexander said. “But our third, fourth and fifth guys stepped up.”<br><br>

“Building on those experiences is key right now for our younger guys. We don’t want them to feel that pressure and the more experiences like this they have, it builds their confidence.”<br><br>

Rogers lost to Fayetteville in an 18-hole match, while the Mounties won playing only nine. Alexander said playing nine can be more difficult.<br><br>

“Starting out strong is cricitcal,” Alexander said. “There’s no time to bounce back playing only nine.”<br><br>

Rogers Heritage girls tennis

The Lady War Eagles are off to a 3-1 start and coach Emily Dillard likes the way her team is working together to this point.<br><br>

The lineup is taking shape with senior senior Izzy Furuseth at No. 1 singles and junior Abby Snipes at No. 2. Juniors Emily Gilchrist and Annie Stribling are playing No. 1 doubles, while junior Bernice Portal and freshman Rachel Grom have not lost yet at No. 2. doubles. <br><br>

“Abby’s a junior and she’s coming into her singles game, but I like it,” Dillard said. “Emily and Annie have played together, but this year is a whole new environment for them I think. They’re looking great with their communication.”<br><br>

“Abby  is gonna be great. She was thinking she would play doubles, but I like her in singles. Annie and Emily, I like their energy on the court together. They are holding their own on the top line and are fun to watch.”<br><br>

Dillard said her doubles team will work on some other formations, while she’s going to stress more serve and volley with the singles players this week.<br><br>

— Paul Boyd • @NWAPaulB

First loss in two years for Fayetteville boys golf

As a team, the Bulldogs’ boys golf team did not lose a match during its fourth state championship run last season, so should there be any concern that it’s already suffered a setback this season?

No, not really. It’s just evidence the competition has improved and that the Bulldogs can’t afford to let up on any match, hole or swing.

“Everybody out there is shooting for you,” Fayetteville coach Scott Williams warned his team during a preseason meeting. “Who doesn’t want to say they’ve knocked off the best team around?

“And don’t think it can’t happen, because it can.”

It did. Rogers High defeated Fayetteville 149-151 during a match at Lost Springs Golf and Athletic Club in Rogers on Monday. All four of Fayetteville’s top golfers shot a 39 or under, led by Denver Davis’ 35. But Rogers was a few strokes better with three golfers shooting a 37 or lower and the fourth coming in at 39.

— Mike Capshaw • @NWACappy

Springdale Har-Ber golf

Coach Tim Aynes’ Wildcat golf teams opened the week with a pair of wins against conference opponents at The Greens on Blossom Way on Monday.

On the boys side, Logan Bradley shot a team-best 41 for Har-Ber, matching Rogers Heritage’s top score. Cole Bishop, who hit a hole-in-one in Har-Ber’s first tournament of the fall, shot a 42 while Kade Keith finished with a 43 to give the Wildcats a 171 team total and 18-stroke win.

The Lady Wildcats didn’t have the lowest score of the day, but they had more of them. Abbey Ott led Har-Ber with a 45 and Kailey Fender followed with a 47 to help give Har-Ber a 150-159 win against Heritage.

Har-Ber faces Harrison at the Harrison Country Club today. Play began at 10 a.m. Next Tuesday, Har-Ber meets Fayetteville at Paradise Valley beginning at 10 a.m.

– Scottie Bordelon • @NWAScottie

Springdale High track update/cross country

Groundwork for a new competitive track at Springdale began back in the spring.

The track is part of a $3.5 million project that will also include practice fields for the Red’Dogs baseball and softball programs. The eight-lane track is being built south of the high school’s band practice field.

On Aug. 25, the Springdale Schools Twitter account tweeted, “Springdale High School’s track is starting to take shape!”

“Excellent progress,” said Springdale Public Schools communication director Rick Schaeffer in an e-mail. “Ground has been flattened. Lanes being formed. Due to be completed by November.”

In the meantime, Springdale’s cross country teams are gearing up for their first race of the season. After completing time trials last weekend, the Red’Dogs will compete Saturday at Shiloh Christian.

Race times from the time trials and more updates can be found by following @RedDogXCTF on Twitter.

– Scottie Bordelon • @NWAScottie

Henry Apple

Henry Apple

Henry Apple is a veteran sports reporter for the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. His primary beat is Bentonville and Bentonville West, as well as topics that include state schools and the Arkansas Activities Association. During the spring, he handles high school track in Northwest Arkansas. He is a lifelong Arkansas resident.
Henry Apple

Latest posts by Henry Apple (see all)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *