High expectations for Gael tennis

Aaron Chalstrom owns three Class 1A state tennis singles silver medal finishes.

The St. Edmond senior will look to close out his career one step higher later this spring.

In the meantime, Chalstrom and a handful of returning letterwinners will look to get the Gaels back into the state team tournament as well.

St. Edmond head coach Jacob Short has Chalstrom, John Eide, Konrad Laufersweiler, Ben Albright, Jimmy Averill and Zach Gailey all back in the top six. The unit placed second in the 1A team state a year ago, tying the highest finisher ever for the program.

“These kids are very motivated after the loss in the state finals last year,” SEHS head coach Jacob Short said. “They all played indoors during the offseason, so it is just a matter of fine tuning the little things and preparing for the season.

“The maturity level of these kids is incredible. They are talented, competitive and coachable, which makes my job a lot easier.”

Chalstrom’s lost just six times in his career, and all six of those defeats have come to state champions. He did avenge the individual state championship loss to Boone’s John Ellis at team state.

“Aaron has taken on a much larger leadership role,” Short said. “His change in demeanor has been outstanding, as he knows this is his senior season and he plans to take it one match at a time.”

Gailey, a sophomore, qualified in the individual field a year ago, going 0-2. Sophomores Albright and Eide went 1-2 at state.

“It was difficult last year to tell the incoming freshmen just how hard they had to work,” Short said. “Now, they understand the level of competition that we will face, and they know how to prepare.”

St. Edmond will host a 1A district meet at Dodger Courts on May 9. They open the season -?weather permitting – on March 30 at the West Des Moines Valley Invitational before taking on intra-city rival Fort Dodge on April 2.

The Gaels will face Newton at this weekend’s Valley Invitational, with the winner advancing to meet either the host Tigers or Boone.