CEDAR RAPIDS — The tennis teams at Cedar Rapids Kennedy are still making quite a racket.
The defending state champion boys moved to 13-0 with an 8-1 win over Cedar Rapids Jefferson on Tuesday. The girls defeated the J-Hawks by an identical score, improving to 12-1.
“We’ve got a lot of experience back from last year,” said boys’ coach Jim Loomis, who returned five of his top six from a 2008 team that shut out Ames and Iowa City West at the state team tournament. “It wouldn’t be normal if there wasn’t just a little complacency after last year, but for the most part the hunger is still there.”
Boys’ tennis districts are today, and the Cougars will compete in a Class 2A meet at Coe College. Girls’ regionals are next Thursday.
Both Kennedy teams are fortified with talent and depth.
The top three boys — Joey White, Jeff Damisch and Eric Allebach — are juniors. Allebach is out with an eye injury and is questionable today. The rest of the top seven consists of Ivan Liao, Riley Galbraith, Nick Dudak and Dan Wasta.
Liao and Dudak are the only seniors of the bunch.
“We should be pretty good again next year,” Loomis said.
White and Damisch are unbeaten in doubles, but probably both will compete in singles today. White reached the state semifinals last year; Damisch was a quarterfinalist.
“We pretty much know what we’re going to do,” Loomis said. “There aren’t a lot of secrets out there.”
The girls absorbed their first loss May 5 at Dubuque Wahlert, a 1A team, but have rebounded nicely. The top two players — co-captains Megan Nielsen and Gretchen Wertz — are seniors, the next five are underclassmen.
“We seem to have an advantage with our depth,” said girls’ coach Joe Benedict.
Jackie Pedersen, Laura Boenish, Trisha Hinke, Christina Goeddel and Lindsey Slater are next in line.
Kennedy won the 2007 girls’ state title in Vance Fuller’s final season, and the program hasn’t slid under Benedict’s watch.
“We get a lot of help from our middle schools,” Benedict said.
The Kennedy girls’ singles/doubles regional is at Waterloo West.
Meanwhile, Linn-Mar’s boys wrapped up the MVC Valley Division title. The Lions are 14-2 overall; their 14 wins is a school record.