116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
At the Waveland Tennis Courts in Des Moines, the Decorah boys' tennis team defeated defending state champion Fairfield Maharishi, 5-4, for its first Class 1A team tennis state tournament since winning three straight from 1996-98.
'You get choked up when you think about it,” Decorah Coach Reginald Laursen said. 'They worked hard for this common goal.”
Decorah blanked LeMars, 5-0, in the morning semifinal.
In the championship, Decorah dropped matches in spots one through three of its singles lineup, but received valuable contributions from the bottom half.
'It was about as dicey and tight as you can possibly get,” Laursen said.
At No. 4 singles, senior Karl Sand edged David Wadsworth (6-3, 6-4), while fellow senior Gable Lonning got past Caleb Mulleneaux at the five spot, 6-3, 6-1.
Whether Decorah would head to doubles down 4-2 or tied 3-3 hinged on sophomore Ross Gentry at six. When Gentry dropped the first set, 6-0, to Daniel Zhu, Laursen changed strategy.
'Have him hit just moon balls,” Laursen said. 'Just lobby shots deep and not try to hit anything hard.”
Gentry rallied for an 0-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory.
With the championship tied at 3-3 heading to doubles, Lonning and doubles partner Brett LaRue made quick work of Wadsworth and Mulleneaux, 6-2, 6-2. Fairfield Maharishi tied up the dual at 4-4 with a doubles win at No. 2, leaving the championship hanging with Gentry and senior Ryan Hageman at the final doubles spot.
Gentry overcame significant cramping with Gatorade and pickle juice, and he and Hageman clinched the championship with a 6-3, 6-3 doubles win over Zhu and Kai Vessey.
'You didn't know whether or not he was going to tighten up,” Laursen said. 'But the boys pulled through.”
Decorah (16-0) is the first public school to claim the 1A crown since Red Oak in 2003.
'Wow, we really did do it,” Laursen said. 'It's amazing.”
CLASS 1A SEMIFINAL
Decorah 5, LeMars 0
Ryan Hageman def. Dylan Harms, 6-1, 6-2; Brett LaRue def. Kyle Marek, 6-1, 6-3; Karl Sand def. Thomas Havey, 6-1, 6-0; Gable Lonning def. Austin Rieken, 6-1, 7-6 (7); Ross gentry def. Jake Thompason, 4-6, 6-4.
CLASS 1A CHAMPIONSHIP
Decorah 5, Fairfield Maharishi 4
Sam Stickels (FM) def. Caleb Ulring, 6-3, 6-0; Chandre Morales (FM) def. Ryan Hageman, 4-6, 7-5; Kai Vessey (FM) def. Brett LaRue, 6-4, 6-0; Karl Sand (DEC) def. David Wadsworth, 6-3, 6-4; Gable Lonning (DEC) def. Caleb Mulleneaux, 6-3, 6-1; Ross Gentry (DEC) def. Daniel Zhu, 0-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Stickels/Morales (FM) def. Ulring/Sand, 6-1, 6-3; LaRue/Lonning (DEC) def. Wadsworth/Mulleneaux, 6-2, 6-2; Hageman/Gentry (DEC) def. Vessey/Zhu, 6-3, 6-3.
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