By Brad Green
Volins, the Sandvigs, the Webers, the Paluchs, and the Bells.
These are a few of the legendary families in South Dakota tennis
history. Now we will add the Townsends to this list.
Teresa Townsend of Sioux Falls and their four children: Matt,
Meg, Izzy and Rachel have been chosen as the Tennis Achievement
Award winners for this year.
born and raised in Sioux Falls and attended St. Mary School.
he took to the game at an early age thanks in part to living
close to a familiar tennis haunt.
up on 4th Avenue just down the street from McKennan Park,”
“One of the things in the summertime though is we’d meet some
friends up at McKennan Park. That’s really how I got started in
the game of tennis. Michelle Volin at the time lived right
across from the park and she encouraged me and one of my best
buddies, Stu Becker, to get involved and play up in the South
Dakota Closed up in Brookings.”
who is the former Teresa Trysla, was born and raised in South
Sioux City, Neb., where she also began the game as a youth.
family played (tennis),”
“It was kind of a family thing that we would do together.”
moved onto O’Gorman High School in the fall of 1976. He quickly
became immersed in the Knights’
as he played football, basketball, baseball and tennis. He
played football for legendary coach Bob Burns while also playing
basketball and tennis for current O’Gorman boys and girls tennis
coach Don Barnes.
spring of 1980, the Knights earned their first-ever state
championship in boys tennis under the leadership of Ron Selkirk.
Bill contributed to the title as he won the Flight 4 singles
title and later teamed with Steve Rost to claim the Flight 2
“You know back then, it was just four singles and two doubles
but we swept the whole thing. It felt really good. That was my
first state championship and a lot of fun.”
graduated from O’Gorman and Teresa graduated from South Sioux
City High School with the Class of 1980. They met later that
fall at The University of South Dakota in Vermillion in freshman
Speech class. While in Vermillion, Bill played defensive back
for the Coyotes’
team for four years under Coach Dave Triplett.
graduating with degrees in finance and education respectively,
Bill and Teresa got married and headed south to Lincoln, Neb.
where he went to work for Federated Insurance. While in Lincoln,
their son Matt was born. The family moved to Sioux Falls when
Matt was two and Bill began working for Howalt-McDowell
Insurance. Matt was later joined by sisters Meg, Izzy and
Rachel, all of whom would come to play the game their parents
enjoyed so much.
played four years of varsity tennis for the Knights’
His career saw him win three singles titles at three different
flights (Flight 6 in 2002, Flight 4 in 2003 and Flight 3 in
2005) and bring home two doubles crowns at a pair of different
flights (Flight 3 in 2004 with Nolan Wiese and Flight 2 in 2005
also with Wiese). Thanks to the efforts of Matt and his
teammates, O’Gorman claimed two state championships in 2003 and
played six years of varsity tennis for the Knights’
She ended her career as a part of four straight state
championship teams from 2007-2010. Meg herself brought home four
individual state championships (Flight 4 in 2006, Flight 2 in
2007, Flight 3 in 2009 and Flight 2 again in 2010) and three
doubles championships for O’Gorman. She teamed with Theresa
Petrasko to earn the Flight 1 doubles crowns from 2008 and 2009
before claiming her third straight Flight 1 doubles title in
2010 with Hannah Vandemark.
played three years of varsity tennis for the Knights before
being forced to give up the sport due to developing an illness
played four years of varsity tennis for O’Gorman and was a part
of the Knights’
championship team and won the Flight 3 doubles championship that
year with Mira Yousef.
Rachel graduated from O’Gorman, Teresa said she did not want to
be an empty nester so they invited Danielle Sebata, the current
Flight 1 player for the Knights’
to live with them. Sebata has done so for the past two years.
She claimed three Flight 1 singles championships and three
Flight 1 doubles titles before graduating from O’Gorman this
talked about the significance with Bill and later all of their
kids for the opportunity to play tennis for Coach Barnes.
fun that Bill had him and then to have all our kids be able to
play for him,”
“That’s something special. You really don’t get that very
family resides near McKennan Park, home courts for the O’Gorman
tennis programs. All six members have enjoyed professional and
serves as the President of Property & Casualty operations for
the Sioux Falls branch of Marsh & McLennan insurance agency.
Teresa is the Director of Religious Education for St. Mary
Matt is a
business finance graduate of the University of Notre Dame and
also has an MBA from the University of Michigan. He lives in
Washington, D.C. where he works for Guidehouse LLP supporting
the Department of Justice and FBI accounts.
her brother, is a business finance graduate of Notre Dame. She
is married to Dane Washenberger and lives in Minneapolis, Minn.
where she works in corporate finance for Target.
graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a degree in
psychology. She has added to her education as will graduate this
summer with an accelerated nursing degree. Upon graduation, Izzy
will work as a pediatric nurse for Sanford Health.
a junior at the University of Colorado in Boulder where she is
studying finance and data analytics and will graduate in May
near and dear to Bill’s heart is the Huether Family Match Pointe
in the Sanford Sports Complex. The indoor tennis facility boasts
six tennis courts, one of which even bears the family’s name.
involved in the fundraising effort in order to obtain the
remaining monies to make the place a reality for the Sioux Falls
a just labor of being in certain positions at certain parts of
“The Sanford Sports Complex was happening and so they were
gracious enough to offer us the land then we started with the
fundraising. We raised a little over a million (dollars) with
just the tennis community. Then we got a Chamber drive, raised
another 1.2 (million dollars) and we were well on our way.”
added the reason that his family has supported the venue is so
that next generation of tennis players can begin an association
with the sport that has given his family so much.
family’s support financially out there is for the little kids,”
“It was truly a family deal and we couldn’t be prouder to have
our name out there and be associated with it.”
of the South Dakota Tennis Hall of Fame selection committee, we
proudly celebrate The Townsend Family as our Tennis Achievement
Award winners for 2019! Congratulations to Bill, Teresa, Matt,
Meg, Izzy and Rachel!