Cole Ruklic photo

Cole Ruklic.

Grangeville’s Cole Ruklic is the only GHS boys singles player this spring, and that means he gets matched against the opponent’s No. 1 everywhere the Bulldogs play. When GHS plays at Clearwater Valley, it means he sees a lot of Josh Francis and Gabe Kirish — seniors who played at state last spring, where Francis reached the third-place match and nearly forced a third set for the trophy.

“It’s good,” Ruklic said of his season so far, “but it’s been a little rough. I’m trying to break into the top of the district right now. It’s tough, but I’m digging in. Actually, there was a time this spring when I played Gabe, maybe a week or two ago, when it started to feel like I was on the offensive instead of on my back foot all the time. I lost, but it didn’t feel like I was that far away.”

Kirish and Francis are “completely different players,” Ruklic said. “Gabe is really consistent. He’s getting better at his power hits. Josh is really consistent, and he already has that all down. I’ve been just trying to get more consistent when I play those guys in terms of just hitting it hard.”

He pointed out Bella Dame and Cameran Green, who are contenders in the girls doubles bracket, and Emmy Told, in girls singles.

Ruklic barely missed qualifying for state last spring. “I had two double tiebreaks to go onto state, and I just didn’t quite win either of them. So I’m hungry for it this year.”

The district tournament is slated at 9 a.m. each day May 13-14 at Lewiston High School.

This Bulldog of the Week athlete highlight is brought to you by Nelson Family Dentistry.

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