Saints' Bungarden Hunting for a Title

By KBJR News 1

May 2, 2013 Updated May 2, 2013 at 10:11 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Hibbing native Hillary Bungarden helped to lead the the Saints tennis team to its 17th straight conference title this spring. But that's only the beginning for Bungarden and her competitive nature.

Bungarden started deer and pheasant hunting when she was just 12, but she's still waiting on her first kill.

"Well, I helped my Dad with one, but I haven't had one all to myself yet which is disappointing."

Disappointment, though, doesn't come often to Bungarden when you start talking tennis.

She's the number one singles player for St. Scholastica, but it's the outdoors where she loves to relax.

"It's peace and quiet in the woods" Bungarden said. "You can really just appreciate everything you have in life."

It's not so peaceful for the native on the tennis court.

Last year, she was the UMAC player of the year, an honor she says she owes to those around her.

"My teammates and coaches really helped me become better throughout the year. I felt like towards the end it all worked out," Bungarden said.

As for repeating the honor this season, she says that's not really a concern.

"The only thing I can control is to work hard and play my game. That's all you can do. If the other person has a better day, then they do, but I want to try my best and work my hardest."

Head Coach Wells Patten agrees.

"Her strength is just that she goes and does what she's supposed to. She doesn't like to lose, and her teammates know that. When they're out there, they'll be supportive that way."

That competitive fire for Bungarden starts burning well before she hits the court.

"You'll see me staring at my strings, focusing in on what I need to do and making sure that I get it done."

And it's a focus that will switch to shooting her first deer come fall.

Posted by Sarah Wheeler