Le Mars boys tennis has season conclude at district meet

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

SPENCER ó The Le Mars Community boys tennis team makes an early exit from the postseason after failing to advance as a team or any singles or doubles competitors from Mondayís district meet.

Le Mars was ranked No. 10 in Class 1A in the latest coaches poll and was just coming off of a tournament championship in the Missouri River Activities Conference.

Matthew Ahlers and Michael Meis were the teamís singles representatives. They both won their opening round matches, but then had to face the top two seeds in the bracket.

Ahlers opened with a 6-0, 6-0 win against Kaleb Curtis of Cherokee. He then dropped his match 6-4, 6-1 to the top overall seed, Joseph Li of Fort Dodge St. Edmond.

Meis opened with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Collin Schaar of Sergeant Bluff-Luton. He then beat No. 2 seed Grant Love from Estherville-Lincoln Central with that match being decided 6-3, 7-6 (1) with the tiebreaker in the second set. He then fell to Storm Lakeís Josh Steffen, the No. 3 seed, by a 6-4, 6-2 score. Meis finished in fourth place after dropping the third place match by a third set tiebreaker to Spencerís Owen Kierschet, the No. 4 seed in the bracket. Meis won the first set 6-3, but dropped the second 6-2. Kierschet won the tiebreaker by a 10-8 score.

Li and Steffen will be the districtís two representatives to the state meet after Li beat Steffen 6-3, 6-0 in the first place match.

The Le Mars doubles teams of Jacob Harms and Kade Calhoun along with Evan Pratt and Ian Penne bowed out early in the bracket.

Calhoun and Harms had to face the No. 1 overall seed right away in the first round as they went up against Spencerís Charlie Steele and Sam Feldmann. The Spencer pair won by a 6-1, 6-2 score.

The other Le Mars duo of Penne and Pratt had to face Spencerís other doubles team of Riley DeWitt and Evan Johnson, who were the No. 2 seed in the bracket. The Tigers won that match by a 6-1, 6-0 score.

Spencer earned both of the doubles qualifying spots. DeWitt and Johnson ended up beating their teammates Steele and Feldmann in the first place match.

Spencer, ranked No. 4 in the class, placed first overall and will get a bye to the substate final. Second place Estherville-Lincoln Central, who is receiving votes in the coaches poll, placed second and will host Spirit Lake/Okoboji in Fridayís preliminary substate. Spirit Lake-Okoboji and Fort Dodge St. Edmond finished tied for third place in team points, but Spirit Lake-Okoboji advances due to their head-to-head win in doubles play.

Le Mars had earned a state qualifying banner in five of the previous seven years. The only other times in that span they hadnít advanced to state were in 2020, when the entire spring season was cancelled due to COVID-19, and 2018, when the Bulldogs lost to Spirit Lake-Okoboji 5-3 in the preliminary substate round.

The team will graduate three seniors off this yearís roster with those being Ahlers, Calhoun and Harms.

Team scores: Spencer 27, Estherville-Lincoln Central 14, Spirit Lake-Okoboji 8, Fort Dodge St. Edmond 8, Le Mars 6, Cherokee 6, Storm Lake 6, Sergeant Bluff-Luton 0.

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