116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Iowa City West and Cedar Rapids Xavier's boys’ tennis teams enter the postseason as top-ranked teams.
But neither head coach — Marshal Moellers for West and Jim Potts at Xavier — are taking anything for granted as district play is set to begin on Monday morning.
“While our rank has been flattering, we can’t let that number go to our head,” Moellers said of his Trojans, ranked No. 1 in Class 2A. “Our number one goal is to win state. Winning a state championship is no simple task.”
Potts puts little stock in the Class 1A rankings.
“While rankings give you an overall impression of how teams are lined up across the state, I honestly don't put a lot of weight on them,” he said. “I try to keep our team focused on improving and getting better overall each and every day.”
Both teams have been impressive in the regular season. West finished 13-0 after Saturday’s 9-0 win over Kennedy and won each match by that same score.
Xavier is 11-1, its lone loss coming to West.
The Trojans will be hosting a district on Monday while Xavier will be off to Fairfield. All district winners and runners-up in both singles and doubles advance to the state tournament later this month. The top three scoring teams in each district advance to substate team play.
Xavier is a two-time defending state champion while West lost to Waukee in the 2A title match last spring. Teams do not have to declare which players will play in singles and which ones will be in doubles until Monday. Moellers will wait until then to release his lineup.
The Saints plan for the postseason has been in place, at least in the No. 1 spots, since the beginning of the season.
“I’ve known from the start of the season what we were doing for No. 1 singles and the No. 1 doubles teams,” Potts said. “The other spots have been a little bit of a question mark throughout the season, but we've now landed on who will play where.”
After combining with 2021 graduate Matthew Schmit to win the state doubles title last season, senior Brady Horstmann will look to take the gold this year in singles. Fellow seniors Declan Coe and Hugh Courter, who finished fifth at state in doubles, will be paired together again and will be among the favorites to win the title. Sophomore Quincey Johnson will be Xavier's other singles entry while senior Trenton Link and junior Ryan Schmit will be the other doubles entry.
“We have four seniors on this year's team that have been playing on the varsity since they were freshmen,” Potts said. “They have been the core of this team for the past four years and will be heavily relied upon during the postseason.”
Although Moellers would not commit to a lineup, he had words of praise for senior Luca Chackalackal, who is unbeaten this season at No. 1 singles.
“He has been a huge asset to the team,” Moellers said. “He has been a phenomenal leader for our team and we are very proud of his accomplishments on and off the court. We look forward to seeing what he has in store for us as we transition to our postseason matches starting on Monday.”
After a season played mostly in cold, raw weather, it will feel like summer on Monday with temperatures expected to climb into the 80s.
“I am concerned about this,” Potts said. “We haven't seen temperatures even close to this all season. I'll be reminding the kids to get plenty of rest and hydration over the weekend and to stay out of the sun when they're not playing.”
Area boys’ tennis district sites
(Play begins at 8 a.m. Monday)
At Cedar Falls: Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids Jefferson Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Dubuque Hempstead, Mason City, Waterloo West.
At Iowa City Liberty: Burlington, Iowa City High, Iowa City Liberty, Linn-Mar, Muscatine, Ottumwa.
At Iowa City West: Bettendorf, Cedar Rapids Washington, Cedar Rapids Prairie, Davenport West, Iowa City West, Southeast Polk.
At Decorah: Aplington-Parkersburg, Clear Lake, Decorah, Hampton-Dumont-CAL, Independence, Oelwein, Waverly-Shell Rock, Western Dubuque.
At Waterloo Columbus: Camanche, DeWitt Central, Dubuque Wahlert, Grundy Center, Maquoketa, Marion, Union, Waterloo Columbus.
At Fairfield/Maharishi: Cedar Rapids Xavier, Davenport Assumption, Fairfield, Fairfield Maharishi, Fort Madison, Keokuk, Mount Pleasant, West Burlington/Notre Dame