Bulldogs Amtmann and Nelson head to state

Aidan Amtmann and Molly Nelson knew they weren’t having as much fun as they could be during the first part of the tennis season.

The Butte High girls were playing singles and getting along just fine, but something was missing.

“I like having a person out there with me, it’s funner,” Amtmann said.

So, at about the halfway mark of the season, Butte High coach Mavis Bentley and the girls mutually decided to team up and play doubles.

The result of that move cannot be argued.

Amtmann and Nelson placed second at the Southern AA Divisional tournament last week in Helena. They will open the Class AA State tournament at Montana State University Friday in Bozeman.

“I think we both could have sneaked in there at state,” Amtmann said about making it this far in single splay. “But I knew if got doubles we would be able to get in there for sure.”

The Butte High duo beat Ashley Battershell-Corson and Jenna Starte in a 2-6, 7-6 (9-6), 6-4 thriller in the semifinals that locked up the trip to state.

They fell 6-2, 6-1 to Sophie Allen and Margot Shea of Bozeman in the championship match. Thursday, they open the tournament against Brooke Dart and Bailey Roady of Great Falls High.

The trip to state is the third straight for Amtmann, who played with 2013 graduate Kaitlyn Vetter the past two seasons.

Amtmann said playing with Nelson has been easy.

“She has awesome ground strokes,” Amtmann said of her partner. “From being a singles player she has really good ground strokes, and she’s learning to come to the net more. She killed like a bunch of overheads in our last few matches. I think she’s loving it at the net.”

The two have been friends for a long time. Nelson said that has helped lead to success.

“It definitely helps your game because you know what the person is going to do,” Nelson said. “For example, Aidan I know she is going to poach any chance she gets. She loves slamming overheads. She’s really aggressive at the net and she’s just really fun to play with.”

Amtmann and Vetter placed fourth in divisionals the previous two years. That meant the Bulldog team had to face a No. 1 seed in round of 16.

This year, Amtmann and Nelson will face a No. 3 seed in the first round, and they are hitting the road with great confidence.

“It proves we are a good team and we can do some damage at state,” Amtmann said of placing second at divisional. ” I haven’t won a match at state. We hope to place.”

State AA Tennis Brackets

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