FD’s Cochrane top seed at state tennis

CEDAR RAPIDS – Fort Dodge freshman Jaci Cochrane doesn’t have any previous state tennis tournament experience.

Cochrane does have a strong reputation around Iowa, though, thanks in large part to competing in several national tournaments.

Because of that, along with a perfect 8-0 record that includes wins over a pair of former state qualifiers, Cochrane enters today’s state tennis tournament as the No. 1 seed in Class 2A.

Action begins from the Veteran’s Tennis Center this morning and concludes on Friday with the crowning of a new champion.

Joining Cochrane will be Dodger doubles team Kari Grindberg and Emily Knight.

Cochrane squares off with Megan Jans from Iowa City West, a district runner-up. Also on her side of the bracket are Katie Melbourne of Pleasant Valley, who is the No. 4 seed after placing sixth last year, and returning qualifiers Katie Meyer from Dubuque Hempstead, Kayla Kuethe of Waukee and Des Moines Roosevelt’s Meera Prasad.

“Jaci does a great job of staying focused (for each match),” FDSH head coach Karine Feddersen said. “She always plays her game no matter what the competition brings.”

Cochrane has defeated Kuethe and Judith Fan of Ames this spring. Fan is on the opposite side along with two-seed and returning third-place finisher Eve Small of Iowa City High.

Liera Bender from Johnston, who placed fourth a year ago, is also on that side as the No. 3 seed along with eighth-place finisher Abby Bergster of Lewis Central.

Payton Kintz of Johnston is also in the field after placing second in doubles a season ago.

Grindberg and Knight have gone 11-2 this year playing against some of the top teams in the state. They will face Sarah Lasecki and Jessica Pedersen from Cedar Rapids Kennedy in round one.

The Fort Dodge duo was a district runner-up.

“Kari and Emily are a dynamic doubles team,” Feddersen said. “There is some tough competition in the doubles draw, however, I believe they can play at this level.”

The No. 1 seed if Michelle VanRoekel and Madeline Heer from Urbandale, who placed third a year ago. Dana Waterman and Ali Grampp from Bettendorf are the two-seed after placing fifth, while several other qualifiers return with new teammates.