Five gaels qualify for state tennis

It was a banner day for the St. Edmond boys tennis team Thursday, as Aaron Chalstrom, Jimmy Averill, Konrad Laufersweiler, John Eide and Zach Gailey all punched state tickets.

Chalstrom, the defending three-time Class 1A state runner-up, captured another district title, while the other four advanced in doubles.

Averill and Laufersweiler earned the district doubles championship by downing Eide and Gailey, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

“It was a very, very successful day,” SEHS head coach Jacob Short said. “Jimmy and Konrad played really well. Defeating John and Zach in the finals was a bit of an upset, but they are so athletic, it makes them difficult to beat – especially at the net.”

Averill and Laufersweiler had played just once together in a meet this year, but Short saw their height as a strength in doubles. After earning a 6-0, 7-6 (7-4) victory over Aplington-Parkersburg in the first round, they cruised to a 6-0, 6-2 win over a team from Iowa Falls-Alden in the second.

Matched up with a pair from Clear Lake in the semifinals, the Gael duo earned redemption, as the same players had knocked them out a year ago in the round.

“Jimmy and Konrad are definitely athletes playing tennis,” Short said. “It is a natural thing for them to be at the net, and they pound the ball.

“We had used several different matchups this year in doubles, but I felt this was the way to go (at districts).”

Eide and Gailey were the No. 2 seed and easily advanced to the finals after receiving a bye in the opening round. They allowed just four points until the finals.

“John and Zach have been a great doubles team for us all year, as well,” Short said. “It was nice to see an all-St. Edmond final.”

Chalstrom will be looking to secure his spot on the podium for a fourth year when state tennis takes place in Waterloo May 24-25.

All three of his wins were of the 6-0, 6-0 variety, including a finals triumph over Sam Jones from Clear Lake. The only two losses on Jones’ resume this year have been to Chalstrom.

“Aaron is just a special athlete,” Short said. “Not many kids have the mindset and mental toughness that he does. He played really well (Thursday).”

Ben Albright was the other singles player for the Gaels. He went 1-1 on the afternoon.

Before they take part in the individual state tournament, St. Edmond will host a team substate match next Saturday.