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Boy’s tennis team enters postseason strong

Jiung Jung

For the Trojan’s tennis team, this past season presented a challenge from the very moment that the 2014 season ended. With four out of the six previous starters graduating, the Trojans’ lineup was left with an enormous void; a void that needed to be filled.

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David DiLeo ’15 hits a backhand. DiLeo finished 2nd in districts, guaranteeing a birth at the individual state tournament.

“Any tennis team that loses four of six starters will enter the next season with a lot of questions marks,” head coach Mitch Gross said.

The missing spots were infused with a mix of previous junior varsity members and upcoming freshman, Brad DiLeo ’18.

The varsity novices, along with the returning letter winners, have worked together to exceed the given expectations. The Trojans continued their tradition of dominance this spring, finishing 12-1 with the team’s lone loss coming to #1 Linn-Mar in a narrow defeat by a score of 5-4.

“I think [the loss] was a nice realization moment,” said varsity member Yair Abramoff ’15. “Even though we had worked hard up to this point in the season it still wasn’t good enough and encouraged us to work harder.”

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Yair Abramoff  ’15 gets ready to hit a shot along with doubles partner Brad DiLeo ’18. They finished 4th in districts, defeating the #4 seed along the way.

The loss marked the end of a 68 duel win streak, with the last team loss coming in the 2011 team state championship. Although the loss disappointed the team, the Trojans are ready to rebound from this loss and focus on their main goal for the season- a state championship.

“Obviously we want to win every meet but the loss to Linn Mar was very humbling and refocused us on the ultimate goal for the season,” said captain David DiLeo ’15. “It also showed us how close we are and how hard we must work to reach our goal.”

Post season action began with districts being held on May 15, at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Center. West High played well, by winning districts as a whole and qualifying 4 out of 6 players for the individual state tournament.  West High competed along with teams such as City High, Muscatine, Burlington and Cedar Rapids Jefferson.

“I was proud of how well we did at districts,” said Cole Schneider ’17. “I was proud overall of how well we have done all season.”

The team will next be competing in substate in a location to be determined on May 23 for a chance to qualify for the team state tournament.

West High Individual State Qualifiers:

David DiLeo ’15; Singles

Jiung Jung ’17; Singles

Ryan Smith ’16/Cole Schneider ’17; Doubles

Photo used with permission from Michele Conlon

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Boy’s tennis team enters postseason strong