Marion seniors stay together, elevate boys' tennis program to new heights

Boys' tennis: Undefeated Indians enter Class 1A district meet with surge of momentum after first Wamac title in school history

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MARION — Maverick Miller considered a sporting flip for his senior season.

After two years with the Marion boys’ tennis team and his collegiate baseball future secured, Miller was tempted by a last-gasp venture into track. Ultimately, his passion for tennis and the bond with his longtime teammates won out.

“I wanted to try something new with track, but decided that my love was still with tennis,” said Miller, who will compete for the Indians in a Class 1A boys’ tennis district meet Thursday at Dubuque Wahlert. “Performing in track, I just didn’t get the same feeling I did when I was playing tennis.”

The decision has been a successful one for Miller – an Indian Hills Community College baseball recruit – and four-year starters Nate Meister, Peter Ward and Seth Tuetken. The quartet have a combined 35-0 record in singles play this season and have helped Marion (9-0) win 19 consecutive duals over the past two years.

“Good kids, good tennis players,” Marion Coach James Foth said. “They’ve really dedicated themselves to the program.”

On May 4, the foursome secured a program plateau with the first Wamac boys’ tennis team championship in school history.

“It makes it very special and it’s going to be a season that none of us are going to forget,” said Meister, who occupies the No. 1 singles slot and will play collegiately at Wartburg. “It’s going to be nice to go inside in the gym and see the first year on the new banner with ‘2017.’ It will be a good feeling. It will be a great memory we will always have.”

Additional honors potentially await at Thursday’s district meet, which is hosted by defending 1A team state champion Dubuque Wahlert and also includes Cedar Rapids Xavier, Independence, South Tama and Union.

The district champion and runner-up in both singles and doubles advance to the individual state tournament May 26-27, while the top three teams in the overall standings remain eligible in the team state race, which begins Saturday with the preliminary substate round.

“We’re just going to go in as a team and try to push it at least to get to Saturday,” Meister said. “Give it our best shot. ... I think a lot of us on the team can live up to the moment.”

At other 1A district sites, Decorah and Oelwein are at Waverly-Shell Rock, while Maquoketa travels to North Scott.

In Class 2A, third-ranked Linn-Mar visits Marshalltown and Western Dubuque is at Clinton.

Cedar Rapids Prairie hosts a rugged 2A slate that features top-ranked Iowa City West, No. 2 Washington, City High, Jefferson and Kennedy.

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