The post-season has been both busy and kind for the Cherokee boys tennis team, with the Braves number one doubles team of Cole Egger and Kyle Ruehle placing second in the Class 1A District Doubles competition last week in Spencer to make State, and the Braves team beating Storm Lake 5-3 in the 1A Preliminary Team Substate competition in Cherokee on May 12 to advance to the 1A Susbstate in Fort Dodge Saturday.
Host Spencer won the District with 17 points, while Cherokee was second with 14, followed by Storm Lake 12, Le Mars 10, Spirit Lake-Okoboji 8, Denison-Schleswig 8, Sioux City Heelan 6, and Estherville-LC 0.
The Braves play Fort Dodge St. Edmond's beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, and that winner then plays Spencer with a State Team Tournament berth on the line. Although closely contested matches, the Braves have lost twice to Spencer this season.
In finishing runner-up in the District Doubles, Egger and Ruehle, the #1 seed, beat Mike Ahlers and Nick Gerth of Le Mars 6-2, 6-1 in the opening match; then beat Spencer's Sascha Schultz and Chris Jones 6-2, 6-2; and Heelan's Marty McDevitt and Tom Rickert 6-0, 6-2; before falling to the top Spencer doubles team of Chris Lensing and Joey Toale 6-0, 7-6 (7-3 tiebreaker) in the finals.
Cherokee's second doubles team of Tom Wilson and Daniel Feser beat E-LC's Adam Mustard and Seth Origer 6-2, 6-2; and then lost 1-6, 3-6 to Spirit Lake-Okoboji's Scott Maudlin and Mason Berquist.
In District Singles for the Braves, Nick Parker drew #1 seed Kyle Koth of Le Mars and lost 6-0, 6-2 to the eventual Singles champion. Cherokee's Cole Renken beat Heelan's Alex Gosch 6-1, 6-1 in his first match; but then lost 7-5, 6-0 to Jese Munger, Storm Lake's #1 player.
"It was an excellent showing for us," said Cherokee coach Dave Zelle. "Other than Nick drawing the #1 seed, everyone contirbuted points for us for second place. In the finals, Egger and Ruehle ran into a Spencer juggernaut. We had a chance to win the second set but were unable to get our emotional ship fully righted after the first-set tsunami swept by."
Egger and Ruehle advance to the State Tournament in Waterloo May 23-24 with a salty 12-2 doubles record this season.
In the preliminary team Substate here Monday, the Braves won four singles matches and #1 doubles to beat Storm Lake for the third time this season.
In singles for Cherokee, Egger beat Munger 6-3, 6-2 at number one, Ruehle stayed undefeated at number two singles with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Erick Stephas, Renken beat Taylor Anderson 6-4, 6-3 at three, Wilson lost 5-7, 3-6 to Jeremy Boese at four, Parker beat Will Hansen 6-2, 7-5 at five, and Feser lost 4-6, 1-6 to Cory Nelson at six.
Egger and Ruehle beat Munger and Stephas 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 at number one doubles to seal the match. Wilson and Feser lost 1-6, 4-6 at number three doubles, while the number two doubles match was not completed after the Braves clinched the Substate title with the Egger-Ruehle win. In that match, Renken and Parker led Anderson and Boese 7-6 (8-6 tiebreaker), 4-6, 2-1.
"The old sports adage is that it's tough to beat the same team three times in one season, and boy, we sure did it the hard way tonight," said Zelle. "Fortunately, Cole and Kyle came out strong after dropping a lethargic, uninspired first set and hammered out the win for us.
"I look forward to Saturday's Substate matchup with St. Ed's. We have superb players at the top of our lineup, and good team depth and balance. If we play well, we couuld get the chance to avenge our two losses to Spencer by meeting them in the second round Saturday."