Dodger trio ready for state

CEDAR RAPIDS – Three Fort Dodge boys tennis players will embark on the state title journey in Class 2A beginning today.

Brian Murman qualified as a district runner-up in the singles draw, while Andrew Stover and Jon Bowser advanced in doubles after claiming a district title.

Play will begin immediately following the seeding meeting at Veteran’s Memorial Tennis Center, likely around 10 a.m.

Murman posted a 14-2 record for the Dodgers this past season, competing in the No. 1 singles position throughout his junior campaign.

Among the qualifiers he’ll be grouped with are defending runner-up Charlie Humes from Pleasant Valley and Tim Paulson of Linn-Mar, who placed fourth last spring.

Murman and Stover competed in the doubles draw last year, going 1-2 before bowing out in the consolation second round.

“Brian and Andrew have had the state experience before and they are both eager to get back there and give it another shot,” FDSH head coach Jared Feddersen said. “Even though Jon is only a freshman, he has been around the state tournament before with older siblings and he is anxious for his own shot.”

As a district runner-up, Murman will draw a district champion in the first round. He lost to Caleb Shudak of Lewis Central in the finals.

Stover and Bowser have a perfect 12-0 record playing together on the courts this year. Stover, a senior, is also a veteran of competition on the football field, basketball court and baseball diamond.

Brady Anderson of Linn-Mar, who won the singles state title a season ago, is competing in doubles with Trevor McCann. David DiLeo from Iowa City West is also in doubles after taking fourth in singles.

Yasha Litvak of West Des Moines Valley earned seventh in doubles last year, while McCann, Bryce Brien of Bettendorf, Sam Perenich from Pleasant Valley and Dowling Catholic’s Matt Triplett all are back after qualifying with new partners.

Also, Austin LaVelle and Grant Wright from Norwalk were 1A state doubles champions from a season ago and are now competing in 2A.

“Brian, Andrew and Jon will be dangerous players at this year’s individual state tournament,” Feddersen said. “They’ve all had great regular seasons and qualifying for team state last Saturday has boosted their confidence to an even higher level.

“You have to be ready for anything when you get to the state tournament because there’s a good chance that either Brian in singles or Andrew and Jon in doubles will be seeing an eastern Iowa player or team perhaps for the first time.”

Fort Dodge earned one of four team state berths by winning a substate tournament recently. They will compete against Iowa City West next Tuesday in Des Moines. West, the top seed, qualified two singles players and two doubles teams for state.

Valley and Linn-Mar also advanced to the final four. The Tigers had a clean sweep at districts, advancing two singles and two doubles teams, while the Lions qualified one in each bracket.

First and second round action in both singles and doubles will take place today, along with consolation first and second round play, while the semifinals and finals in both are set for Saturday beginning at 10 a.m.