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State tennis rulings to change in 2014-15

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sports Mitchell, 57301

Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

After years of running the state tennis tournaments, a flaw was found in the point system.

The way the current point system is set up, there is a possibility that players who win the consolation championship, or finish ninth in their bracket, could earn more points than players who take seventh or eighth.

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The South Dakota High School Activities Association approved a ruling during its April 22-23 meetings that will fix the point system beginning in the 2014-15 season.

Along with adjusting the point system, there will be 12 seeded players in all flights of singles and doubles. Next week’s state tournament in Rapid City will be the final time that only eight players are seeded in each draw.

“After the top eight were seeded, there were some really good draws and really bad draws by luck,” Mitchell tennis coach Pat Moller said. “This will make things fair and equitable.”

With 12 seeded players in each draw, the eight unseeded players will play each other before advancing to play a seeded player in the draw.

“Everybody gets a bye except the unseeded players, and coaches of some of the smaller schools were excited about the system because those unseeded players get a chance for a competitive match,” Moller said. 

Another change that will affect all players is the match format. Beginning at the girls state tournament in October, all championship rounds will be two out of three sets with a match tie break for the third set. Now, the third set is played out.

“This is the most controversial change,” Moller said. “If we get into the semifinals and finals, I wish they would play out the third set. When you’re trying to crown a champion, that tiebreaker is a coin flip.

“The player who is playing the best at that time may not win that tiebreaker.”

The reason for the shortened third set is to keep the tournament on schedule.

The state boys tennis tournament begins Thursday in Rapid City.

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