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CLASS 1A REGIONAL TENNIS

Hagness tops Fain in singles' final; CF, West players qualify for state

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WATERLOO — Six Cedar Valley girls’ tennis players battled through temperatures as high as 97 degrees to earn berths in the Class 1A girl’s state tournament, Wednesday, at the Byrnes Park Tennis Center.

Columbus Catholic dominated earning three of the four potential berths, sending two singles competitors and a doubles team to state.

Juniors Sophia Fain and Alli Hagness earned the singles spots as the two battled from opposite sides of the bracket. Hagness topped Fain, 6-2. 6-1, to take the crown. 

Fain lost seven total games across her first three matches, making her way from the top of the bracket into a spot in the title match.

Fain overcame one major hurdle, defeating Aplington-Parkersburg senior Lilly Hovenga in a 2-hour, 30-minute long semifinal match. Fain fell to Hovenga last week in the NICL conference tournament.

Meanwhile, Hagness fought up from the bottom half of the bracket, losing only six games in her three matches before meeting Fain in the finals.

According to the Fain, the collision of the two Sailors in the championship shows the work ethic of both players.

“I feel like having both of us here shows how hard we worked this season,” Fain said.

In addition to being teammates, Hagness and Fain competed as a doubles team last season and did not qualify for state.

“I am really excited because we fell just short last year,” Hagness said. “It is a really big opportunity to go to state.”

Similarly, Fain noted that competing in the singles competition did not phase either of the juniors.

“It is just a new opportunity,” Fain said. “Seeing that we both qualified, that is pretty exciting.”

In addition to Fain and Hagness, the doubles team of Chloe Butler and Avery Hogan also earned a spot in the state doubles competition.

The duo only lost four games across four matches as they came away with the regional title and their second state tournament berth as a team. Last season, they came in fourth place overall at the state tournament.

Butler said the duo’s strong chemistry provided the winning combination during Wednesday’s competition.

“I think we work really well together,” Butler said. “We compliment each other. When we are both on, we are just really playing great.”

Hogan added their complimentary strengths were not the only pieces of the puzzle which allow the two to combine into a formidable team.

“We do a lot of doubles at practice,” Hogan said. “So, we play a lot together which helps.”

With their tickets punched, Butler, Fain, Hagness and Hogan continue an over 50-year run of tennis success for the Columbus girl’s program.

According to Columbus head coach David Will, Columbus has sent a representative to the state meet every season since 1970.

“That is what we aim for every year,” Will said. “It is kind of a tradition. We like to get people to the state tournament.”

For Fain, the opportunity to compete at state not only carries on the Sailors’ tradition of success, but a family run of success as well.

“I have had two sisters go to this school,” Fain said. “Just continuing our family sport has been very fun for me.”

The Aplington-Parkersburg doubles team of senior Libby Janssen and freshman Adria Neymeyer earned the final available state tournament berth.

Aplington-Parkersburg head coach Dave Price said he could not be more happy for the duo especially due to their recent combination as a doubles team

“These were two girls that we really put together late in the season.,” Price said. “We put them together for a couple matches and they blended really well...They just blended really well together the last two weeks.”

According to Neymeyer, the duo’s strength lies in their ability to communicate with each other.

“We just talk a lot,” Neymeyer said. “We get together so well. If someone messes up, we pick them up.”

Both teams will be back in action for the first round of team regional play on Saturday. Columbus will host their regional at Brynes Park Tennis Center beginning at 9 a.m. The Falcons will take on Clear Lake at Waverly-Shell Rock High School for the first round beginning at 9 a.m.

The 1A state singles and doubles competition will be held May 27-28 in Iowa City.

In Marshalltown, Cedar Falls’ Maya Mallavarapu topped Waterloo West’s Sasha Hyacinth, 6-2, 6-1, to win the singles title at a Class 2A regional tennis meet.

In the doubles final, Sriya Kalala and Ella Seger of Cedar Falls beat Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s Kailey Novak and Morgan White, 6-2, 6-1, to win.

Mallavarapu, Hyacinth, Kalala and Seger now advance to the Class 2A state championships at Waukee Northwest on May 27-28.

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