OTTUMWA — It's not often players get to walk off the court following a win at this time of the year.
In fact, if you're a high school tennis player in the state of Iowa, only those competing a the state singles, doubles or team tournament levels get that honor.
Unless, of course, Mother Nature turns your schedule upside down and around more times than a normal spring sports calander can allow. In which case, you get the opportunity afforded to the Ottumwa boys tennis team on Friday at Dan Staggs Courts where the tennis season could have ended last Friday had rain not forced the Class 2A singles and doubles substate tournament to be moved at the last second to Iowa City.
One week later, several Bulldog seniors enjoyed a much more successful final day together on the home court. With their postseason future having already been closed out, OHS enjoyed one final day in the sun and brought home an outright CIML Metro Conference title with a 9-2 dual win over Des Moines Roosevelt.
Fittingly, the dual also doubled as "Senior Day" for OHS boys tennis. Nine seniors played a part in the conference clincher with three of those departing Bulldogs, Jared Bohlmann, Seth White and Jacob Gardner, all scoring singles wins that helped Ottumwa lock up the Metro crown well before six seniors paired up for three final doubles matches.
"It's always the best day and the worst day at the same time," Gardner said after polishing off a 6-1, 6-1 No. 6 singles sweep to close out his Bulldog boys tennis career. "It's always great to go out with a bang, but it's so hard to leave it. You always want another one."
"You play with the same group of guys for four years, you get so used to being together. It's tough to know this was the last day," Bohlmann added after his 6-1, 6-2 win in the No. 3 singles match over Will Anderson. "It's just nice getting out there and getting a nice victory with your teammates."