GRAND FORKS — There was a stunner at the state high school boys tennis tournament on Thursday, but all the excitement was generated by the East Region.
Defending champion Grand Forks Central, the No. 3 seed from the East, ended archrival Grand Fork's dreams of a perfect season in the semifinals. Central edged the Roughriders, who entered the match 15-0, 3-2.
Central prevailed on the strength of Kaden Johnson's victory at No. 1 singles and a sweep of the doubles matches, both of which went three sets. Braden Panzer and Chase Spicer won at No. 1 doubles and Evan Panzer and Kyle Stauss claimed the No. 2 doubles match.
Red River had defeated Central 6-3 in their regular-season East Region dual match.
That put Central in the championship match against Fargo South, the No. 2 seed from the East. Results of that match were unavailable due to the Tribune's weather-related early Thursday deadline.
The other late matches had Red River meeting Fargo Davies for third place and West Region champion Legacy taking on Jamestown for the consolation crown.
In no uncertain terms, this was the East's party. The four East Region entrants swept the quarterfinal round. Legacy was the only West Region entrant to win a match in the lopsided opening round, falling to Fargo Davies 4-1. Jay Moylan won for the Sabers, defeating James Simle-Askew of Davies in three sets.
The other three quarterfinals went 5-0 — South over Century, Red River over Jamestown and Central over Minot.
Both duals in the all-East semifinal round were 3-2 battles. South edged Davies in the upper bracket while Central was upending Red River in the bottom bracket.
Boys tennis championships have long been the private domain of East Region teams. St. Mary's, the last West Region to win a state championship, finished first in the 1993 state tournament. Twenty-two of the subsequent 26 state titles have been won by the Grand Forks schools.