Grindberg, Knight qualify for state

Kari Grindberg and Emily Knight are headed back to the Class 2A state tennis doubles field, winning a regional title at Dodger courts Thursday.

Grindberg and Knight went 3-0 on the afternoon, including a three-set victory in the finals over Elizabeth Nutty and Elise Hill from Ames.

The Fort Dodge pair will compete June 5-6 at state after placing eighth a season ago.

“Kari and Emily had moments of uncertainty in both their semifinal and final matches,” FDSH head coach Karine Feddersen said. “In the finals, they were able to pull themselves out of their slump by being more aggressive and accelerating the pace. Once they turned it around, they were unstoppable.”

Behind both their strong showing last year at state and by winning a regional crown, Feddersen is hoping that they can secure a seed at state.

“This should put them in the running for one of those seeds,” she said.

Gretta Leigh and Elizabeth Thomas both fell in the second round in singles action, as did the other doubles pairing of Ayenna Cagaanan and Allison Birnbaum.

“I could not have been more proud of our girls,” Feddersen said. “Winning all first round matches would be a huge accomplishment for any team.

“Over the course of the season, Allison and Ayenna have transformed from being a defensive team to being a threatening offensive team. Greta and Elizabeth both played steady in the first round before running into extremely tough competition in the second.”

Leigh lost in straight sets to Judith Fan of Ames, who went on to win the singles title. Thomas was defeated by eventual runner-up Becca Aleynic from Sioux City North.

Fort Dodge is still alive for a berth in team state, as they play Valley in a 2A, Region 2 semifinal in West Des Moines Saturday at 9 a.m.