Cougars well-represented at state

CEDAR RAPIDS — One in singles. Two doubles teams. A berth in the state team tournament for the seventh time this decade.

Yeah, it’s a typical spring for the Cedar Rapids Kennedy girls’ tennis team.

Typically brilliant.

Kennedy is more than well-stocked for the Class 2A state tournament, which begins with first- and second-round individual play Thursday at the University of Iowa Tennis Center in Iowa City. Semifinals and finals are Friday, with team play Saturday.

Megan Nielsen

Megan Nielsen

The team tournament might be the Cougars’ best opportunity to shine. They don’t have any seeded entrants for individual play, but depth has helped carry them to a 16-1 record.

“We don’t just emphasize two or three players. We emphasize all six, and beyond,” said Cougars Coach Joe Benedict. “Whether you’re No. 1 or No. 6, a win counts the same.”

Ames is the top seed in the team tournament, but Benedict feels all four qualifiers — Kennedy meets Bettendorf in one semifinal; Ames faces West Des Moines Valley in the other — are potential champions.

“If we play like we’ve played lately, we have a shot,” he said.

Gretchen Wertz

Gretchen Wertz

The Cougars’ top two players — Megan Nielsen and Gretchen Wertz — are a qualifying doubles team, as are Jackie Pedersen and Trisha Hinke. Laura Boenish, qualified in singles. Those five, plus Christina Goeddel, comprise the six that will play Saturday.

Krissy Lankelma of Marshalltown is the top singles seed while Everlyn Qin and Jessica King of Ames are seeded No. 1 in doubles.

Area seeded players in 2A are Susanna Howard of Iowa City High (No. 2) and Cassandra Chaloub of Cedar Rapids Xavier (No. 3) in singles and Iowa City West’s Lilli Oetting and Lola White-Bear, No. 3 in doubles.

The 1A tournament is run at various places in the Des Moines area. Marion’s Lindsey Cayton and Hannah Hart are seeded third in doubles, Jenny Dallenbach of Decorah is the No. 4 singles seed.


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One Response to “Cougars well-represented at state”

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