Helena's Ryerson Reaches Glory at End of the Road - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Helena's Ryerson Reaches Glory at End of the Road

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2014 was Layne Ryerson's year. He was the number one player in the state, and was undefeated entering his championship match with Capital's Noah Strizich. But none of that mattered to him after the match as he fell to his cross town rival in only two sets.

"You kind of get that feeling of defeat after losing last year," said Layne. "But it gave me something to push off of. It gave me something to work for. You don't want that to happen again."

That fear of losing again ignited something within Layne. Even his coaches could see it.

"He hit the ball harder, his placement was better, and he was just coming forward more," said Bengals head coach Lance Bouchee "He just kept the pressure on him."

The pressure was definitely on Layne all tournament as well. After a round one win, he was rewarded with a quarter-final match with tournament favorite Colin Bahin of Big Sky. Layne beat him in two sets. Then in the semis, he found himself facing Strizich, and earned a spot in the championship by beating his long time friend and rival. It was finally Layne's time to shine.

"Actually Noah sent me a text message," said Layne. "He was telling me to 'go out there and win it because it's your year now.' It was really nice of him. I'm really happy to have him as a friend and as a competitor."

But Layne wasn't finished yet, he still had the title match to win. This year he was up against Glacier's Hunter Blalack. An opponent Layne had struggled with in the past.

"I was ready for a real long match, because I know that Hunter and I have been close this year," said Layne. "He actually had he edge in our rivalry going into it."

Going in as the underdog was nothing new to Layne, but in Helena, in front of his home fans, he was not to be denied.

"He kept the pressure on Hunter," said Bouchee. "Hunter looks very nice. Layne didn't back down, and just kept throwing the ball over there, and Hunter made more mistakes than Layne did."

"I really credit my fan squad out here," said Layne. "It was nice of them to get out of school and come watch me today. I couldn't appreciate it more."

With that support from his fans, and his coaches, today Layne finally stands as a state champion.

"It's a good feeling," said Layne. "It's better than runner up. So I can live with that."

2014 might have had the hype, but 2015 proved to be Layne Ryerson's true year. Not bad for a kid that has never taken a tennis lesson.

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