CEDAR RAPIDS —
Short-handed as they were, the Ottumwa girls tennis team started the season intending to compete for as many points as possible with the players available in both singles and doubles.
As it turned out, the seven players that made the trip with head coach Emily Phommachack was plenty for the Bulldogs to compete in the Vance Fuller Invitational on Saturday. Only six singles players from all four teams in attendance at Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s season opener competed before rain forced doubles play to be canceled after just one rotation.
The Bulldogs scored nine points as a team, finishing fourth place just two points behind Decorah. Ottumwa saw an encouraging sign from that finish as last year’s fourth-place team, Waterloo West, took their major step forward Saturday by capturing four singles titles en route to sharing this year’s team championship with the hosting Kougars as both teams scored 20 points.
With lone returning state qualifying senior Kelsey Granneman and junior Hayli Beeson missing from this weekend’s season-opening tournament, Ottumwa’s top finish came from junior Jennifer Klodt. Klodt, who was also planning to play for a top doubles finish with Jill Arduser at the start of the day, tied for second place stepping up to the number-one singles competition with Decorah’s Brianna Carolen and Waterloo West’s Elma Beganovic. Kennedy’s Jessica Pederson dominated the field on the way to claiming the top singles title.
Dealing with adverse weather is nothing new for any tennis team in the state this season, including the Bulldog girls. Phommachack said on Thursday that Ottumwa had been spending the first week doing conditioning drills indoors and had seen only limited time practicing outdoors in preparation for Saturday’s invite.
“The girls worked really hard. They gave it their all despite the conditions we had to prepare for the tournament and the competition that we had to go up against,” Phommachack said.
The Ottumwa girls tennis team (0-3), coming off a winning overall season in competitions that included a 9-4 dual record, plays their first dual meet of this season in their first action at home on Thursday afternoon. The Bulldogs will host Dowling Catholic at Dan Staggs Courts in a dual meet at 4:15 p.m.
Vance Fuller Invitational
At Veterans Memorial Tennis Center, Cedar Rapids
TEAM STANDINGS — 1. Waterloo West 20, 2. CR Kennedy 20, 3. Decorah 11, 4. Ottumwa 9
NO. 1 – 1. Jessica Pederson (Kennedy) 21, 2T. Brianna Carolen (Decorah) 9, Jennifer Klodt (Ottumwa) 9, Elma Beganovic (West) 9.
NO. 2 – 1. Sarah Lasecki (Kennedy) 19, 2. Aubrey Grant (West) 17, 3. Maddie Grimm (Decorah) 9, 4. Jill Ardueser (Ottumwa) 3.
NO. 3 – 1. Dina Kajtazovic (West) 22, 2. Marisa Don Diego (Kennedy) 14, 3. Claire Brenenstein (Decorah) 11, 4. Sydney Grooms (Ottumwa) 1.
NO. 4 – 1. Tina Kajtazovic (West) 19, 2. Hanna Kruit (Kennedy) 17, 3. Abagail Messer (Ottumwa) 11, 4. Jenny Henry (Decorah) 1.
NO. 5 – 1. Adela Ikanovic (West) 18, 2. Lindsey Rutz (Kennedy) 15, 3. Laura Munkel (Decorah) 10, 4. Abagail Messer (Ottumwa) 5.
NO. 6 – 1. Mikayla Schaefer (West) 20 2. Clara Gilbert (Kennedy) 12, 3. Beth Overturf (Ottumwa) 11, 4. Emily Alcock (Decorah) 5.