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North End tennis rivalry is a friendly one
KINGSTON — After their tennis match Wednesday, Kingston’s Loren Klemesrud and North Kitsap’s Zach Fohn congratulated each other in a unique way. It wasn’t the typical handshake seen on the adjacent courts at Kingston High. This one included a hand slap, a fist bump, a little flourish of the fingers and some laughter.
The two sophomores have been friends since seventh grade and enjoy their rivalry, but refuse to pull any punches on the court.
“I’d say I probably play the same (as against anyone else),” Fohn said. “Just stay focused during the match, but have fun before and after.”
Right now, the competition is a little lopsided in favor of Fohn, who has played tennis two years longer than his friend from Indianola.
“I want to say it’s close, but I don’t think it is,” Klemesrud said. “He’s just all-around better, because he’s been playing for a long time.”
But Klemesrud is determined to even the score before graduation day.
“I want to beat you by senior year. I will beat you,” he told Fohn after Wednesday’s match.
The two first met three years ago, in a seventh grade English class at Poulsbo Junior High. Fohn, already a tennis player, piqued Klemesrud’s interest in the sport.
“Before class every day, we talked about tennis,” Fohn said.
Fohn, whose father’s side of the family is full of tennis players, began playing with his relatives at age 11. Soon he was taking lessons at the Bremerton Tennis and Athletic Club, and last year, as a freshman, earned the No. 1 singles spot on the North Kitsap team.
Klemesrud, who moved to Indianola from Port Angeles in 2004, tried other sports in his younger days, and didn’t pick up his own racket until eighth grade. Today, between practicing his technique on the court and in the band as a drummer, he keeps plenty busy.
This year, the two sophomores earned the No. 1 singles spot on their respective school’s teams, and on Wednesday played each other for the first time this season. Despite being out sick with the flu on Monday and Tuesday, Fohn won in two sets, 6-1, 6-0.
“He’s just more experienced than me,” Klemesrud said. “I think I’m going to go to the Bremerton club and take lessons for a while, and I’m going to try to eventually be able to beat him. That’s my goal.”
North Kitsap plays at 4 p.m. today against North Mason. Kingston has the day off, but will host Bremerton at 4 p.m. Monday.