Gaels 2nd at team state

DES MOINES – The St. Edmond boys tennis squad was stopped one step short in their quest for a championship repeat here Tuesday, falling to Fairfield Maharishi in the Class 1A team state finals, 5-2.

The Gaels won the crown last spring, but were unable to make it two in a row. St. Edmond won two of the four singles matches, as Ben Albright and Konrad Laufersweiler scored straight-set victories. However, Maharishi put the finishing touches on the match when Sam Stickels and Chandre Morales earned a 6-1, 6-2 win at the No. 1 doubles position over Zach Gailey and Patrick Hancock.

“We knew we had our hands full in the finals, but we had a lot of close, competitive matches,” SEHS head coach Tyler Philipsen said. “The kids are disappointed in getting second, but that’s just because they set the bar high for themselves and wanted to win the title.

“Over these last few weeks, everybody has really stepped up their games – especially the three seniors.”

The Gaels advanced to the finals with a 5-4 victory over Decorah in the semifinals. Hancock, Jimmy Averill, Albright and Laufersweiler scored wins in singles, while Averill and Laufersweiler completed the dual with a three-set victory at the No. 2 doubles position.

“Jimmy and Konrad came out on top in doubles with the team score tied 4-4 and I think that just showed how competitive and tough they are,” Philipsen said. “They competed like two senior leaders should and they wanted it.”

This past weekend, Gailey and John Eide finished second at state doubles, while Averill and Laufersweiler placed fourth. Last year, Aaron Chalstrom won the state singles title and helped SEHS to team gold.

Gailey and Eide lost to Maharishi’s doubles team of Solaris Nite and Surya Sawhney in the state finals. Stickels was the individual champion.

Hancock, Averill and Laufersweiler have all graduated. They also helped St. Edmond place second two years ago at team state.

“Patrick, Jimmy and Konrad have nothing to hang their heads about, finishing second here at state,” Philipsen said. “They had careers like not many high school tennis players get to have.”

The Gaels have qualified for team state five times now, finishing as the runners-up three times.

Decorah placed third, defeating Boone, 5-0.