Tennis teams end season triumphantly

 

At left, junior Siddhartha Kalala of the men’s tennis team returns from the baseline in a home meet. Kalala ended at a personal record No. 1 spot.

In a record-breaking season, both the men’s and women’s tennis teams have set a new precedent for teams to come. The girls have formed the first women’s tennis team in CFHS history to win the Mississippi Valley Conference team of the year. The men’s team has also encountered considerable success, with the second best record in CF tennis history. 

Assistant Coach Tara Sagers of the women’s team has coached along with Mike Knox for the past season. She said she is proud to say the least, and after a long season of practices, she is excited to see all the girls’ hard work pay off. 

According to Sagers, “They have had the best overall record of any CF girls tennis team in history, and not only did we make it to State, but we also beat Pleasant Valley 5-1, a team at State that makes it to State year after year.”

Before beating Pleasant Valley, the women’s team also smashed Cedar Rapids Kennedy 5-0, and beat the Marshalltown team with a whopping 6-0.

But the season isn’t over, as the team still has to face some of the best teams in the state. “Now the goal we’ve set is to make it to the championship meet.  We face No. 1 seed Ames, Saturday, June 1 in Ankeny,” Sagers said. “It’s going to be tough, but one thing I can say about this team is they put everything they have on the court and surprise their opponents.”

Junior Benjamin Campbell of the men’s tennis team has reached personal goals in addition to the many met by his team. By functioning as one cohesive unit, the team saw many victories throughout the season. “I thought this season went really well, both individually and as a team.  Our team record was the best it has been since I have been on the team, and we made it to Substate, which not many other teams can do.  My record at the No. 2 spot was pretty good, and I made it to the doubles state tournament with my partner Pranav Chandra, and that was a big accomplishment.”

Junior Krisha Keeran has been consistently ranked as Cedar Falls’ No. 1 player, and she spends hours in and out of practices preparing for meets. With a match record of 17-0 and a set record of 34-0, her hard work has definitely been paying off. Keeran was also chosen as the Athlete of the Year in the league’s Mississippi Division, a high honor that recognizes top high school players. `

According to Keeran, “We prepare for our competitions through practices. The practices are really fun but productive at the same time. We play lots of challenge matches to make sure we are in the competitive mindset.”

Sophomore Vikashprithvi Ayyappan has had a similar experience to Keeran’s and makes sure to utilize the most out of the given practice time with his teammates. According to Ayyappan, “Practices are fun and focused. We get a lot done in a practice. The first 15 minutes is the warm up, and we are quite goofy in it, but the intensity level changes right as we start with the hard workouts.”

Campbell said that working on a such a great team motivated him to do his best and strive toward his goal. By working hard all year round, he was able to go to State with his doubles partner. 

“My proudest moment this season was going to State with Pranav. I have never made it to State before, and I did not think I would ever be able to. When we got there, I did not think we would win a match, but we did. It was a great experience, and I hope I get to go again next year,” Campbell said. “I think we work well as a team and we all support each other. When each player gets done, they go to support the rest of the team, and during practices we all get along well and push each other to get better.”

Assistant Coach Tara Sagers has dealt with a similar dynamic on the girl’s team, one that is responsible for their unprecedented success. Even though things can get competitive when it comes to obliterating school records and moving up in the ranks, the girls still manage to work as a team and get along well. 

“This team is incredible, not only on the court but the friendships they are forming and support for each other is unlike anything I’ve experienced.  Many of them have known each other for years from training at the Black Hawk Tennis Club, but they are all so inclusive of all team members.  It’s really great to see,” Sagers said. “I am very excited for next year. We have some strong tennis players coming, and the program will continue to build. We are only losing one senior this year, which the girls know the work will continue this summer and throughout next year, as we gear up possibly for yet another record breaking year.” 

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