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N.H. News Roundup

N.H. News Roundup: Bullying in tennis? John Lynch ♥’s N.H.

Sunday Swett competes for Bow against Profile in the girls' division III tennis championships on Thursday afternoon, May 30, 2013. 
(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

Sunday Swett competes for Bow against Profile in the girls' division III tennis championships on Thursday afternoon, May 30, 2013. (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

Bow High’s Sunday Swett won the girls singles tennis title Tuesday, and it has become national news. But not necessarily because of her play.

Swett’s opponent, Nashua's Bishop Guertin senior Briana Leonard, was disqualified when she left the match after losing the first set 6-4. Leonard said she quit because the crowd was bullying her. Her parents said she was being "heckled" because she was “not a New Hampshire girl.” The Leonard family lives in Massachusetts.

Swett said she didn’t know what was going on, and thought the long break after the first set was originally a bathroom break.

Bow Superintendent Dean Cascadden released a statement today through SAU 67's Facebook page disputing the claims of heckling and bullying. Cascadden said he spoke with the NHIAA and others who saw the match in person and was assured "the fan behavior has been described as normal tennis cheering for points and there has been no substantiated allegation of any heckling or bad sportsmanship, let alone bullying. Especially, by anyone associated with Bow."

I spoke with him on the phone this afternoon, and Cascadden said he just wants Swett to have her moment in the sun for a great accomplishment, and he thinks these claims are taking away from that.

For the record, though, Swett said after the match that she isn’t going to savor the victory any less.

But is the crowd cheering or even heckling (nonthreateningly) the opponent really bullying? One column says that's just a part of sports.

I played tennis through high school. Once my twin brother and several great fans decided to tailgate our match, body paint and chant during the match. That, too, lasted only one set as they were asked to please keep it down. But no one ever accused anybody of bullying the other team.

It’s a shame to me, since it seemed like the match would have been a good one. Swett had never beaten Leonard, and she actually lost handily to her in last year’s quarterfinals. Swett is ranked 15 in New England according to one site, while Leonard is 11.

But Swett is winless no more, so a big congratualations to Bow's newest state champ.

In other news

∎ Former governor John Lynch, originally from Massachusetts, says New Hampshire is home.

∎ The proposed U.S. budget cuts could mean bad things for the New Hampshire Small Business Development Center.

∎ A Laconia teenager has been crowned the official winner of this year’s Winni Derby.

∎ The Rev. Robert Hirschfeld, a Dartmouth alumnus, has been elected as the new Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire.

∎ According to one New Hampshire marijuana activist, he’s being persecuted by the FBI.

 We could get some rain this weekend as Tropical Storm Andrea heads to the Granite State.

 The 5th New Hampshire Regiment of Civil War role-players will pitch camp in Portsmouth this weekend.

∎ A Manchester police officer and his K-9 counterpart won the the U.S. Police Canine Association annual field trials in Boston.

∎ The Fisher Cats have lost four straight games.

∎ Golfer Jesse Smith connects with New Hampshire.

(Have ideas for the roundup? Reach web editor Kevin Deane at 369-3302 or email him at kdeane@cmonitor.com. Follow him on Twitter, @CM_KDeane.)

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