116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS – Cedar Rapids Kennedy freshman Rami Hemaidan knows he's not going to overpower most people on the tennis court yet.
When he runs up against an older, stronger opponent, he counters with weapons of a different sort.
'I think my endurance is pretty much helping me,” Hemaidan said after winning a Class 2A boys' tennis district singles title, 6-3, 6-3, over Cedar Rapids Washington sophomore Parker Muller Thursday at the Clark Racquet Center's indoor courts. 'Staying out on the court as long as I can usually helps me the most.”
Hemaidan credits cardio workouts and running as the source of his lasting energy. On the court, his game is well-rounded for a freshman. He utilizes a variety of shots to keep his opponents off balance, and possesses enough offseason tournament experience to rarely be caught off-guard.
Appearing in the district championship earned Hemaidan and Muller a spot in the 2A state singles tournament, which begins May 29 at Veterans Memorial Tennis Center. Hemaidan's goal is a top-5 finish.
'I just hope to play the best that I can,” Hemaidan said. 'Play my best every match.”
The district doubles championship was the thriller of the afternoon.
Jackson Hoyt and Oliver Hammond of Cedar Rapids Washington dropped the first set to Dubuque Senior's Gus Zuccaro and Jacob Mozena, then got in a 3-0 hole in the second set.
That's when the Warrior tandem took back the serve – which to that point had been the strength of their game – and changed their fortunes.
'We just got really aggressive,” Hammond said. 'Came to the net. Just forced them to hit winners.”
Hoyt and Hammond rallied with seven of the next nine games to force a third-set tiebreaker, then finished off the Rams' twosome for a 6-7, 7-5, 6-2 district championship. While reaching the title match guaranteed them a spot in the state tournament, a win gives them a chance to earn one of four seeds.
'That was my main mentality,” Hoyt said. 'Winning districts just helps you with seeding.”
The other area district meets – 2A at Iowa City High, 1A at Cedar Rapids Xavier – were moved to Friday because of rain.
CLASS 2A DISTRICTS
At Cedar Rapids
(Clark Racquet Center)
(Top three teams qualify for substate)
Teams - 1. C.R. Washington 28, C.R. Kennedy 14, 3. Dubuque Senior 13, t4. Dubuque Hempstead and Western Dubuque 7, 6. C.R. Prairie 6.
(Top two qualify for state)
Rami Hemaidan (CRK) def. Parker Muller (CRW) 6-3, 6-3
Nick Woodward (DS) def. Jack Parmley (CRW) 6-4, 6-4
(Top two qualify for state)
Jackson Hoyt/Oliver Hammond (CRW) def. Gus Zuccaro/Jacob Mozena (DS) 6-7 (3), 7-5, 6-2
Dane Van Antwerp/Will Rizer (CRW) def. Evan Gaskill/Jason Niccolls (CRP) 6-3, 6-3
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