116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS – Vale Caro had been preparing to team with older sister Magui in the doubles portion of the Class 2A girls' tennis district meet Thursday in Eldridge.
Cedar Rapids Prairie's No. 1 doubles team placed fourth at state last season and were one of the favorites to win next month's state championship.
But with Wednesday's news that Magui Caro is withdrawing due to a nagging illness, Vale is forced to change course on a day's notice and will likely compete in singles Thursday at North Scott High School.
'I feel like if I keep my head up and I'm confident I can do well,” Caro said. 'I get down on myself easily in singles, but I've gotten over the news and I have to keep looking forward.”
Each school submits two singles' players and two doubles' teams for regional play. The champion and runner-up from each six-team regional qualifies for the state tournament, which begins June 4.
'Playing doubles is a lot different than singles,” Caro said. 'For doubles you have to keep in mind volleys, overheads and down the line and cross court and serve. For singles, it's a lot different. You have to make a ton of balls deep and hit a lot of cross courts and not do as much down the line.”
Caro has been excellent at No. 1 singles this season for the Prairie Hawks. After winning the Mississippi Valley Conference Valley Division Athlete of the Year as a freshman last year, she has dropped just two singles' matches this season. Caro credits improved consistency and confidence for her strong sophomore season.
'Confidence is a big part of the game,” Caro said. 'For example, when we played Iowa City West – Megan Jans – I hit with her during the year and she's a player that I struggled playing with. During that whole week and during that day, I said to myself, ‘You can do it, you can do it, you can do it.' And during the whole match I was confident. I kept saying to myself positive things and I did well. I played really well and I ended up winning the match.”
In other 2A regionals, two-time state singles runner-up Eve Small of Iowa City High vies for her fourth state singles berth at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Center against a field that includes players from Iowa City West, Linn-Mar and Western Dubuque. Washington and Kennedy hopefuls play at Marshalltown, while Jefferson is at Bettendorf.
The majority of area 1A schools will be at Xavier, where players from Marion, Maquoketa, Mount Vernon-Lisbon, South Tama and Union Community try to qualify for state. Independence and Oelwein are at Decorah.
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