Dodger, Gael girls ready for state tennis
The Fort Dodge and St. Edmond girls tennis programs will both be represented at state tournaments beginning today.
For the Dodgers, the doubles team of Kari Grindberg and Emily Knight compete in 2A in Ames while Gael Lily Peterson advanced to Iowa City in 1A.
Action is set to start at 10 a.m. and continue through Friday.
Grindberg and Knight earned a regional title and will face Vale Caro and Magui Caro of Cedar Rapids Prairie in the first round. They would likely meet No. 3 seed Lilly Hartman and Rina Moore from Cedar Rapids Washington with a win.
Last year, Grindberg and Knight went 2-3 at state to place eighth. Hartman and Moore finished as runners-up, falling to Urbandale’s Michelle Van Roekle and Madeline Heer in the finals.
“Having played two years together on a regular basis, Kari and Emily really know what each other is thinking out on the court,” FDSH head coach Karine Feddersen said. “Their communication is definitely one of their strengths and has helped carry them to wins this year.”
Des Moines Roosevelt’s Mary Hill and Meera Prasad are the No. 1 seed for doubles, while Eve Small from Iowa City High is the singles top seed.
“I think we have a lot of momentum coming off the win at regionals,” Feddersen said. “But we know it is going to be a difficult tournament with a lot of talented teams. Hopefully, we can get a couple wins (today) and be playing on Friday.”
Grindberg and Knight have compiled a 15-2 record on the year. Both defeats came during tourney round-robin play.
Peterson enters off a third-place showing at regionals, making her an alternate for the state field. When the runner-up bowed out, Peterson took advantage. She will face Emily Ahlers from LeMars in the opening round.
Ahlers was a state qualifier last year and is the younger sister of Carolyn Ahlers, who defeated St. Edmond’s Ellen Chalstrom in the semifinals last year on her way to finishing second.
“Lily was very excited,” SEHS first-year head coach Leah McField said. “The second qualifier is not in the country to compete, so we got the call that Lily was going to state.”
Peterson (3-9) actually entered the regional tournament without a varsity win on the year, but she reeled off three victories and gained plenty of confidence on the day.
“It was really incredible to watch and be a part of it as a coach,” McField said. “We are proud of her and will be proud of her as she competes at state.
“I believe that she always plays her hardest and that state will only bring out the best in her.”
The sophomore was part of a rebuilding season for the Gaels, who returned no letterwinners. Peterson also starts for the St. Edmond softball team.
“She is very talented and to make it to state as a sophomore shows that,” McField said. “We’re looking forward to working on getting her there for the next two years, as well.”
Davenport Assumption’s Haley Resnick is the singles No. 1 seed, while Lindsey Grams and Kylie Vogel from Camanche are the top doubles seed.