CEDAR RAPIDS - Earlier this season, a reporter asked Iowa City West boys' tennis coach Mitch Gross about the #x201c;triple crown#x201d; of prep tennis.
At the time, Gross dismissed the thought of winning a state championship in singles, dou ... »
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids Washington has positioned itself for a third straight conference title.
The Warriors have a chance to put the finishing touches on the Mississippi Valley Conference Valley Division crown after storming back to take the team lead last week.
Washington owns a five-stroke lead over Cedar Falls entering the third and final round of divisional play Monday at Pleasant Valley Golf Course in Iowa City. The Warriors won MVC Mississippi Division championships in 2014 and 2015.
They have worked hard to get to this point.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with this team right now,” Washington co-head coach Dennis Goettel said, “and yet our goals are still in front of us.”
The Warriors eclipsed the Tigers’ 22-stroke lead after the MVC Super Meet, which serves as the first round of divisional competition. Washington was actually tied for fourth among seven Valley teams, but fired a 290 last week at Pheasant Ridge Golf Course in Cedar Falls.
“We played better,” Goettel said. “It’s pretty simple.”
Frank Lindwall, the state’s leader in 18-hole and combined adjusted average, was medalist with 68. Alex Slattery was second and is tied for the overall lead with Dubuque Hempstead’s Joey Kaesbauer. Connor Neighbors, the CRANDIC medalist, was fourth at the divisional and third overall. He is one shot back of the leaders, vying for all-conference honors.
The Warriors’ top three also rank among the top individuals in 4A, giving them three low scores to build on in meets. Before this week, the trio had combined to shoot 1-under par for the season.
“Our top three guys have been terrific this year,” Goettel said. “They were ranked in the top six in the state.”
Washington is second in 4A with a 298 18-hole team average, trailing only Linn-Mar by less than a half-stroke. The Warriors are second in adjusted average with 154.13. West Des Moines Dowling is first. Washington is 45-2 in the last eight matches, falling twice on tiebreakers.
Depth was a question for the Warriors, looking to support those top three. Ben Skogman, Spencer Henningsen, freshman Whit Haefner and Niko Varvaris will attempt to round out the lineup.
“I think our depth has gotten better as the season has gone along,” Goettel said. “I think we have four guys behind those top three who have gotten better.”
AREA TEAMS TRAVEL FOR POSTSEASON
None of the Cedar Rapids, Iowa City or Marion teams will host district meets this season. Instead, they will all have to travel to two of four Class 4A sites.
Cedar Rapids Jefferson, Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Cedar Rapids Prairie, Cedar Rapids Washington, Cedar Rapids Xavier, Iowa City High, Iowa City West and Western Dubuque will compete at Pheasant Ridge Golf Course in Cedar Falls on Tuesday, Oct. 4.
“I think this district is going to be very competitive,” Goettel said. “Cedar Falls is going to be on its home course. Prairie, Kennedy and Xavier are all going to be very good. It comes down to one day and you have to perform.”
Linn-Mar heads to Palmer Hills Golf Course in Bettendorf. The Lions are the lone Gazette-area team in the field hosted by Pleasant Valley held Monday, Oct. 3.
The 4A state tournament will be held at Tournament Club of Iowa in Polk City on Oct. 7-8.
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