IOWA CITY — After spending three hours and five minutes outlasting a familiar foe in the semifinals, Cassandra Chalhoub didn’t have enough left in the tank to upend the tournament’s top seed.
The Cedar Rapids Xavier senior lost to Marshalltown’s Krissy Lankelma, 6-3, 6-0, in the Class 2A singles final of the state tennis tournament Friday at Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Center.
Chalhoub (13-3), the third seed, pushed Lankelma (24-0) for nearly every point, providing the first challenge of the tourney for the champion.
“It was frustrating,” Chalhoub said. “Every game went deuce. Every game was close. I just couldn’t finish points.”
She said she felt fine physically and was making all the proper movements. There was something missing, though, after her grueling semifinal match that ended an hour before she took the court for the final.
“I’m in really good shape,” she said, “but I was emotionally and mentally drained.”
That’s because No. 2 seed Susanna Howard (19-3) of Iowa City High gave her everything she could handle in the semis.
The two meet at least seven times a year between regular season and summer contests, Chalhoub said.
That familiarity led to a match that went three times as long as the other semifinal — Lankelma beat No. 4 Kristin Barnes of Bettendorf, 6-1, 6-2 — and almost saw Howard come back from a 5-2 deficit in the third set. Chalhoub won, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.
“Me and Susanna always go back and forth,” she said. “I went into it thinking, play your hardest and if you win, awesome. If you play your hardest and don’t win, you tried your best. I just kept pushing myself.”
She pushed herself throughout her high school career. She advanced to state three of four years, missing only her sophomore season because of illness. She finished third last year in Class 1A, and after Xavier — which finished with Chalhoub’s second and two eighth-place finishes — moved up this year, ended up the runner-up in 2A.
“My main goal was to just get to the finals,” she said. “I’m very, very happy with the outcome.”
The final outcome for Howard was much the same as it was for Chalhoub. She lost to Barnes (23-3) for third place, 7-5, 7-6 (7-4).
No. 1 doubles seed Evelyn Qin and Jessica King of Ames (13-0) defeated No. 4 Julia Vodislav and Sarah Massey of Clinton in the semis and No. 2 Libby Caris and Ellie Nixon of Roosevelt (11-1) in the final.
Clinton (19-5) went on to knock off Bettendorf’s Stowe Heiderscheit and Brooke Johnson (17-6) in the third place game.
Iowa City West’s (11-1) third-seeded Lilli Oetting and Lola White-Baer beat Megan Nielsen and Gretchen Wertz of Cedar Rapids Kennedy (14-7) for fifth.
Team play begins at 9 a.m.Saturday with Ames (11-0) playing West Des Moines Valley (12-1), and Bettendorf (14-1) taking on Cedar Rapids Kennedy (16-1).