CEDAR RAPIDS — This is the time prep tennis coaches are put to the test.
With rosters due Monday for Thursday’s Class 1A and 2A district meets, boys’ tennis coaches are challenged to find their best possible lineup.
It turns out that determining lineups for district competition is more complex than filling out a sheet with names. Coaches implore strategy to try to advance as many athletes to the state meet as well as improving the team’s chances to reach team substate.
Coaches and players have to decide whether to compete in singles or doubles play, assessing what is best for both the individual and team.
“It depends on where your individuals finish and how many matches they win and how many points they compile for your team,” Cedar Rapids Washington Coach David Meyer said. “There’s a lot of strategy that goes on.”
The process makes it extremely hard to gauge the meet. It can be a guessing game as to how the field will look. Coaches can get an idea of which direct a player or coach will go, but surprises can occur. Most coaches don’t want to tip their hand, according to Meyer.
“You take six players, but we don’t know where everybody is going to be. That doesn’t come out until the morning of the match,” he said. ”That’s all under lock and key until Thursday morning when we play.”
Meyer, who has coached the Warriors for about five years, recalled a year when the doubles bracket at district was loaded with the teams’ top players. Doubles matches are worth more points to the team score and can be key with the top scoring team advancing to substate and the second- and third-place team moving on to prelim substate.
“It’s a huge strategy thing because you get more points for doubles than singles,” Meyer said. “It’s more advantageous to win doubles matches sometime.”
Washington will vie for state and team substate berths at Veterans Memorial Tennis Complex for district hosted by Cedar Rapids Jefferson. The field also includes Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Cedar Rapids Prairie, Cedar Rapids Washington, Cedar Rapids Xavier and Marshalltown.
“I feel we have a decent chance to finish in the top three, but you have to play well,” Meyer said of the team race. “You still have to step on the court and play your best tennis because we have a really strong district.”
Iowa City High hosts Iowa City West, Burlington, Davenport West, Muscatine and Ottumwa. Linn-Mar heads to Dubuque Senior for a district with the Waterloo/Cedar Falls schools and Dubuque Hempstead.
In class 1A, Marion, Maquoketa and Western Dubuque compete in a district at Davenport Assumption. Decorah, Independence, Oelwein and Union Community are at Waterloo Columbus. South Tama travels to Pella Christian.
The top two district finishers in both doubles and singles move on to the state tournament May 28-29. The 2A state meet is at Veterans Memorial Tennis Complex in Cedar Rapids. Byrne’s Park Tennis Complex in Waterloo will hold the 1A state meet.
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