SPENCER - The Cherokee Braves talented senior tennis doubles team of Cole Renken and Nick Parker captured the Class 1A District title here Thursday, leading Cherokee to a runner-up finish to team champion Spencer.
The duo received a first-round bye after being seeded #1, and then dispatched Wes Berquist and Brandon Stoll of Spirit Lake-Okoboji 6-4, 6-2; beat Spencer's Waylon Glienke and Drake Swanson 6-1, 6-2 in semifinals; and then defeated Spencer's Drew Jacobson and Mark Wakefield 6-2, 6-4 for the championship.
Jacobson and Wakefield of Spencer made it to the finals after a first-round bye; a 6-4, 6-2 win over Estherville-LC's Nate Jensen and Brad Olsen; and a 6-4, 6-2 semifinal win over Sioux City Heelan's Carter Buckmeier and Garen Merritt.
In singles action for Cherokee, Alex Struck won his first match and lost his second as the #4 seed. Struck beat Tyler Greenough of Spencer 2-6, 7-6, 6-0; and lost a gut-wrenching match to Kent Hasselquist of Le Mars 6-0, 5-7, 4-6, while battling a cramping thigh muscle the last two sets.
Also in singles for the Braves, John Bieber lost 4-6, 0-6 to Spirit Lake-Okoboji's Brett Kraus in first round.
Also in doubles for Cherokee, Matthew Enderlin and Jordan Ogren lost 6-2, 6-1 to Heelan's Buckmeier and Merritt in first round.
Spencer won the team title with 17 points, followed by Cherokee 14, Le Mars 13, Storm Lake 12, Spirit Lake-Okoboji 10, Heelan 6, and E-LC 3.
As top three finishers in Districts, the Braves and Le Mars played in Cherokee Saturday in 1A Substate Team Regional match, with that winner advancing to Substate Team Tournament in Fort Dodge Saturday, May 22. The Braves have won Substate Regionals and earned a trip to Fort Dodge the last two years.
"There was lots of good tennis played despite the miserable conditions," said Cherokee coach Dave Zelle. "Kudos to Nick and Cole for taking the doubles championship in a tour de force that dropped not a single set the entire day.
"Struck spent several hours on the courts in two marathon three-setters, including one tiebreaker, but the second match slipped out of his grasp. Over all, the team places second in an extremely tight team race, moving us into Substate Team competition once again."