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AMES — There were a pair of surprising, albeit for different reasons, runner-up finishes Friday for rivals Iowa City High and Iowa City West at the Class 2A girls’ tennis state tournament at Ames High School.
City High junior Eve Small, the top seed in singles, was favored to take home a coveted state championship after finishing second last season and third as a freshman. But she ran into a game opponent in second-seeded Chloe Jefferies of West Des Moines Valley and lost in the final a second straight year, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.
“I’m disappointed,” Small said. “But I do have to think about the big picture. I’m proud of how I did.”
With Small up a set, Jefferies pressed by charging the net and repeatedly converted returns, missing on just a couple over the final two efficient sets. The tall, rangy sophomore kept Small on the run, wearing her down by forcing her to chase shots side to side along the baseline.
“I don’t think I’ve ever felt like I’ve exerted so much energy where I’ve run out of energy,” said Small, who entered undefeated in singles this season. “That was a new experience.”
Small bested Judith Fan of host Ames in the morning semifinal, 6-1, 3-6, 6-1.
Before the tournament, unseeded Iowa City West doubles’ tandem Megan Jans and Brittani Langland told reporters they hoped to win in consolation.
The juniors significantly bettered that goal with a strong 6-3, 6-0 semifinal win over Vale Caro and Magui Caro of Cedar Rapids Prairie before their surprising run came to an end in the final, 6-2, 6-2, against No. 1 seeds Mary Hill and Meera Prasad of Des Moines Roosevelt.
“We did way better than we expected,” Jans said. “The best part for me was that I don’t think people expected us to do so well.”
The Caro sisters finished fourth, while Lilly Hartman and Rina Moore of Cedar Rapids Washington placed seventh. Cedar Rapids Kennedy sophomore Jessica Pedersen was fourth in singles, losing in the semifinal to Jefferies.
At the 1A state tournament in Iowa City, Allison Jasper of Cedar Rapids Xavier rallied after losing the first set against Courtney Schneider of Dubuque Wahlert and won the third-place match via tiebreaker. Jasper lost the semifinal to eventual state champion Haley Resnick of Davenport Assumption, 6-1, 6-0.
The state tournament wraps up Saturday with team championships in both classes. Washington is chasing the 2A crown, and Xavier is in the hunt in 1A.
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