Hellgate's Torgerson has been tearing up prep tennis since the day she arrived on the scene

Lindsay Torgerson is a competitive person.

There's no denying that fact. It can be seen in the back-to-back state Class AA tennis championships the Missoula Hellgate junior has already captured. It can be seen in the roughly 70 plaques, trophies and medals she has collected in her career.

But perhaps the best place to see these competitive juices flowing is the one place she displays it the most - on the tennis court.

Example: After being taken to three sets (but still coming up a winner) in last year's state semifinals by Helena High's Bridgid Crowley, Torgerson wanted to come back this season and make a statement when the two met at last weekend's Helena Invitational. How does 6-0, 6-2 sound?

"That's the type of player she is," Hellgate coach Charlie Byrne said. "She's really competitive. She's able to learn from her past mistakes and turn things up."

It's no secret that Torgerson is a very gifted tennis player. Ever since she first started taking lessons at the age of seven, she knew tennis was her sport.

"I started getting interested in it around that age, yeah." Torgerson said. "Ever since I started taking 'baby lessons.' "

Looks like she made a smart choice.

Since she arrived at Hellgate, Torgerson has been turning prep tennis in Montana upside down. Her freshman year was nothing short of a coming out party. Torgerson dropped just one match that year, to Helena High senior Nellie Crowley. Torgerson would later come back and beat Crowley for the state championship. Last year, her sophomore season, she went undefeated and knocked off Sentinel's Tondy Baumgartner for the title. In all, Torgerson has won 34 matches through last weekend so far in her prep career.

"I'd say most of it has come pretty easy," Torgerson said. "I mean, there have been players that I've had trouble with in my past, but that's when I know I can't play bad, I need to play better."

All the success can be attributed to her work ethic outside of her Hellgate seasons and during the summers. Torgerson's personal instructor is Brian Hanford, whom she practices with year-round. When she's not working with Hanford, she's either in Salt Lake City, Denver, Las Vegas or somewhere else playing in tournaments.

This season, however, did not start out exactly as Torgerson would have wanted. In her first match, she lost to Sentinel freshman Ristine Olson in straight sets for her second career defeat.

"I couldn't concentrate," Torgerson said of her match with Olson. "I couldn't keep the ball in, that was the problem. I was trying everything."

Torgerson admits that Olson, someone Torgerson has been practicing and playing with since they were small, will be the biggest threat to her state championship hardware in the next couple of years. "There's nobody else," she said.

Byrne agreed, exchange students aside.

"I would say there's no one in Montana that can come close to Lindsay this year, except for Ristine. There's nobody on the horizon as far as I can tell."

It will be interesting to see how this rivalry between friends will play out over the next couple of years.

As for the future, Torgerson is looking to take her game to the next level.

"I want to play college tennis, get a scholarship," she said. "I'm going to play tennis my whole life, but it's not like I'm going to go pro or anything. I think I just want to go to college and have fun."

There's still some business at home to take care of first. "I want to win state two more years," Torgerson said of her immediate goal. "Or at least finish really well."

If the past has told us anything, we should bet on the former.

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