116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
ANKENY – Chris Wundram called it an elephant off his back.
With an expression that evoked equal parts joy and relief, the Linn-Mar boys' tennis coach stood and reflected over a moment that was a long time coming.
Turns out his Lions had that elephant by the tail.
Top-ranked Linn-Mar won four singles matches and tacked on the clincher in doubles for its first Class 2A team state championship in 27 years, 5-2, over three-time defending champion Iowa City West Tuesday at Prairie Ridge Sports Complex.
'We didn't have another choice, we didn't have another option,” Wundram said. 'We put in way too much effort, way too much time. These guys have been basically brothers for the past year. There's no other option than this and it feels so good.”
West defeated Linn-Mar in last year's state championship, 5-2. The state title rematch was set in place after the morning semifinals in which Linn-Mar eliminated Fort Dodge and West ousted Waukee, each by 5-2 scores.
Back on May 8, Linn-Mar snapped West's 68-dual win streak in a match that was knotted at 3-3 after singles play. Just like last time, the Lions won three matches at the bottom of their lineup and one wondered whether it would again get to doubles all tied up.
That's when Linn-Mar senior Ben Myers flipped the script.
Myers – who was handled somewhat easily by West's Cole Schneider at No. 3 singles on May 8 – responded with a crucial 6-2, 6-3 victory for a 4-1 lead and Schneider's first singles defeat this season.
The elephant was stumbling, and the Lions were a win away from a state championship.
'I had to reconsider strategy against him,” Myers said. 'Put more balls across the court, hit more backhands to him. The effort was just there, 100 percent.”
Senior Tim Paulson tried to end it in singles by claiming the first set against singles state champion Jiung Jung, but Jung rallied, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 and made sure the state title would be settled in doubles.
Linn-Mar's No. 3 doubles team of Myers and Skvor wasted little time, scoring a 6-1, 6-3 defeat of Brad DiLeo and Yair Abramoff for Linn-Mar's first boys' tennis team state championship since 1988.
'I just couldn't fathom losing and I never had it in my mind,” Wundram said. 'For some reason, things worked out the way they did. It feels good, it feels awesome.”
West ends its season at 15-2, with both losses to Linn-Mar.
'I lost five guys last year and we end up state runner-up,” West Coach Mitch Gross said. 'That's a pretty good rebuilding year.”
(Prairie Ridge Sports Complex)
CLASS 2A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
Linn-Mar 5, I.C. West 2
Jiung Jung (ICW) def. Tim Paulson, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2; David DiLeo (ICW) def. Trevor McCann, 6-2, 6-1; Ben Myers (LM) def. Cole Schneider, 6-2, 6-3; Shane Skvor (LM) def. Brad DiLeo, 6-3, 6-0; Kyle Brendes (LM) def. Ryan Smith, 6-2, 6-2; Lucas Huffman (LM) def. Quinn Dawson, 6-1, 6-1.
Myers/Skvor (LM) def. B. DiLeo/Abramoff, 6-1, 6-3.
CLASS 2A SEMIFINAL
Linn-Mar 5, Fort Dodge 2
Tim Paulson (LM) def. Brian Murman, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1; Jon Bowser (FD) def. Trevor McCann, 7-5, 6-2; Caleb Hendrickson (FD) def. Ben Myers, 6-0, 6-2; Shane Skvor (LM) def. Rob Leigh, 6-0, 6-3; Kyle Brendes (LM) def. Ben Ahlers, 6-0, 6-1; Lucas Huffman (LM) def. Steve Liao (FD), 6-1, 6-0.
Myers/Skvor (LM) def. Ahlers/Liao, 6-0, 6-2.
CLASS 2A SEMIFINAL
I.C. West 5, Waukee 2
Jiung Jung (ICW) def. Mac Delsol, 6-0, 6-0; David DiLeo (ICW) def. Austin Grossmann, 6-1, 6-1; Cole Schneider (ICW) def. Austin Stradling, 6-2, 6-3; Brad DiLeo (ICW) def. Sandeep Yeturu, 7-6, 6-3; Peyton Parker (W) def. Ryan Smith, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5; Tyler Kruzan (W) def. Quinn Dawson (ICW), 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.
Jung/D. DiLeo (ICW) def. Delsol/Grossmann, 6-1, 6-0.
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