116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Iowa City West boys’ tennis coach Mitch Gross has had the luxury of having players face each other many times for district titles.
It happened in both singles and doubles Wednesday in Iowa City. In singles, Eli Young defeated Jayden Shin in three tough sets while the duo of Mukundan Kasturirangan and Luca Chackalackal downed teammates Samir Singh and BJ Wolf in straight sets.
All six qualified for the Class 2A singles and doubles state meet, May 28-29 in Cedar Rapids. West finished with 35 points in the team chase to earn a spot in the substate team final on May 22.
"I simply don't coach them when it happens," Gross said of having teammates play each other. "It is a blessing to have so many really good players, but it is a curse when you want to correct mistakes.
"What it gives me the opportunity to do is jot down a ton of notes. We will definitely use them next week."
Gross had plenty to jot down in the singles final where Shin, who plays No. 4 singles during the season, forced a third set by winning a tiebreak in the second. Young eventually won, 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 6-2.
"That singles match was a slugfest," Gross said. "Some might think that Eli wasn't playing well. That wasn't it at all. It was more of a testament to what kind of player Jayden is. Nobody was surprised he pushed Eli the way he did."
The fact that Kasturirangan was able to play was a win in itself for West. He injured his left knee in a match last Saturday at Waukee and wasn't cleared to play until Tuesday.
"It was a little bit of a roll of the dice," Gross said. "He's going to have some further work done, but now we have a little time off until the substate on May 22 for him to get rested and do some more rehab."
West was one of three area teams to gain district titles on Wednesday. At Bettendorf, No. 5 Linn-Mar easily outdistanced Dubuque Hempstead for the crown. In Class 1A play at Fairfield, top-ranked Cedar Rapids Xavier rolled to the team crown.
Coach Chris Wundram's Lions had both champions at Bettendorf. Ayush Kalia downed Luke Loving of Davenport West in straight sets while Arwind Sivakumar and Sudeep Gadde needed three sets to outlast Dubuque Hempstead's Kareem Kassas and Jake Althaus, winning 6-3 in the third.
Xavier looked primed to defend the 1A title it won in 2019. The Saints advanced both doubles teams as Brady Horstmann and Matthew Schmit beat Declan Coe and Hugh Courter, 6-1, 6-4, in the final. In singles, Trenton Link lost 6-2, 6-2 to Keokuk's Abbott Haner in the final.
One of the more impressive performances of the day came at Prairie from Cedar Rapids Washington's Grayson Zylstra, who didn't drop a game in sweeping three foes en route to the district singles title and a state berth. The Warriors took third in the team race and will play at Cedar Falls this Saturday in a substate semifinal match. Cedar Rapids Kennedy's Parker Sprague also made the state field, falling in the singles final at North Scott to Pleasant Valley's Jake Dolphin.
In 1A, Marion, led by a runner-up performance in doubles from Seth Blackford and Tanner Shindelar finished as the runner-up team to host Dubuque Wahlert in its regional. Marion will host Davenport Assumption on Saturday in a substate semifinal. Also in 1A in Waverly, the Decorah doubles team of Gabriel Anderson and Caden Branum made it to state with a runner-up finish.
Boys’ tennis districts
All finalists qualify for state tournament May 28-29
Team scoring: 1. Linn-Mar 30, 2. Dubuque Hempstead 18, 3. Western Dubuque 10, 4. Bettendorf 9, 5. Davenport West 8, 6. Davenport North 0.
Singles: Ayush Kalia (LM) def. Luke Loving (Dav. West), 6-4, 6-1.
Doubles: Arwind Sivakumar/Sudeep Gadde (LM) def. Kareem Kassas/Jake Althaus (Dub Hemp), 6-2, 5-7, 6-3
At Iowa City West
Team Scoring: 1. IC West 35, 2. Ottumwa 15, 3. Burlington 7, 4. Davenport Central 7, 5. Iowa City High 6, 6. Iowa City Liberty 0.
Singles: Eli Young (ICW) def. Jayden Shin (ICW), 6-4, 6-7 (4-7) 6-2
Doubles: Mukundan Kasturirangan/Luca Chackalackal (ICW) def. Samir Singh/BJ Wolf (ICW), 6-1, 6-2
At Cedar Rapids Prairie:
Team scoring: 1. Mason City 26, 2. Cedar Falls 20, 3. CR Washington 11, 4. CR Prairie 8, 5. CR Jefferson 6, 6. Waterloo West 4.
Singles: Grayson Zylstra (CRW) def. Reed Kruger (Mason City), 6-0, 6-0
Doubles: James Matthews/Caden Rodning (MC) def. Neel Shah/Pranav Chandra (CF) def. 7-6 (7-5) 6-4
At North Scott:
Team scoring: 1. Pleasant Valley 31, 2. C.R. Kennedy 14, 3. Dubuque Senior 11, 4. North Scott 7, 5. Clinton 6, 6. Muscatine 4
Singles: Jake Dolphin (PV) def. Parker Sprague (CRK), 6-2, 6-3
Doubles: Nathan Barlow/Luke Brunsvold (PV) def. Mazen Alsheikha/Gavin Pangan (PV), 6-2, 6-3
Team scoring: 1. C.R. Xavier 29, 2. Keokuk 13, 3. Centerville 9, 4 (tie). Maharishi, Mount Pleasant 7, 6. Fort Madison 5, 7. Davis County 2
Singles Abbott Haner (Keokuk) def. Trenton Link (CRX), 6-2, 6-2.
Doubles: Brady Horstmann/Matthew Schmit (CRX) def. Declan Coe/Hugh Courter (CRX), 6-1, 6-4
At Dubuque Wahlert:
Team scoring: 1. Dubuque Wahlert 32, 2. Marion 12, 3. Davenport Assumption 9, 4. Camanche 8, 5. DeWitt Central 6, 6. Independence 5, 7. Maquoketa 4.
Singles: Roan Martineau (DW) def. Sam Timp (DW), 6-0, 6-0
Doubles: Charlie Fair/Jack Freiburger (DW) def. Seth Blackford/Tanner Shindelar (Marion), 6-1, 6-1.