116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Luca Chackalackal and Mitch Gross wouldn’t say much about possible rematch scenarios with Waukee.
"I've done this for a long time and I've always been a one-match-at-a-time person," Gross said. "My focus right now is all on (Pleasant Valley)."
Gross' Iowa City West boys’ tennis team won the Class 2A state team tournament when it was last contested in 2019, downing Pleasant Valley, 5-1, in the title match. The Trojans will look to defend that title on Tuesday in Ankeny.
West (16-1) drew the No. 2 seed behind Waukee, which defeated the Trojans, 7-2, in the final dual meet of the regular season. An in-match injury to Mukundan Kasturirangan forced West to default that match and shuffle its entire doubles lineup. Despite that, there were several close matches that went the Warriors’ way.
"If we do meet them, we'll hopefully learn from it," Gross said. "It will be great if we get there.
"In my 20 years this will probably be the hardest first-round state match that we've had (PV is 11-1). I am totally dialed in on them right now."
If West and Waukee were to meet, there would also be a rematch of last Saturday's 2A doubles title match where Kasturirangan and Chackalackal dropped a 6-3, 6-3 decision to the freshman duo of Quinn Monson and Kaden Taylor.
"So you are asking me to give away what our strategy would be if we would meet them again," Chackalackal said with a grin. "Just hope we get the chance."
Waukee (11-0) will meet West Des Moines Valley (12-1) in its semifinal matchup.
Another team looking to defend its 2019 crown will be Cedar Rapids Xavier in Class 1A. The Saints won a hard-fought, 5-4, decision over Pella in 2019. Coach Jim Potts' Saints (13-1) are the top seed and will meet Spencer (12-0) in the semifinals.
Potts is understandably happy with how his team has progressed through the season. Senior Matthew Schmit and junior Brady Horstmann combined last Saturday to win a tough three-set match in the state doubles final. Xavier's No. 2 team of Declan Coe and Hugh Courter fought back from an opening-round loss to win four matches and finish fifth. In singles, Trenton Link placed eighth.
"I’m just really excited about how this year has turned out so far," Potts said. "I’m hopeful that we can continue into (Tuesday) with the same success."
Schmit said the Saints are looking forward to making their title defense.
"Having five of our six players in the individual and doubles state definitely gives us a big boost," he said.
If Xavier were to get past Spencer, a rematch with Pella (15-0) is possible. The Dutch meet Dubuque Wahlert (12-3) in their semifinal.
"We saw a lot of Pella (at the individual tournament) and we competed with them," Horstmann said. "I think it would be a very good dual."