14 Iowa Conference team titles
CEDAR RAPIDS — A Central College men’s tennis team that overcame a number of hurdles closed the year with a fourth-place finish at the Iowa Conference qualifier.
The Dutch reached the semifinals of the six-team tourney, staged to determine the league’s automatic qualifier for the NCAA Division III Championships. But conference champion Coe College blanked Central 5-0 Saturday morning and Wartburg outlasted the Dutch 5-2 in the third-place match that followed.
Against Wartburg, Central got an 8-5 win at No. 1 doubles from West Adelman (sophomore, Geneva, Ill.) and Tim Kahl (junior, Grinnell). Adelman was also victorious at No. 1 singles, 6-4, 7-6.
Coach Steve Tyler said the outcome swung on the doubles’ results. Central was ahead at all three spots, but only came away with the win at No. 1.
“We could have easily swept all three,” he said.
But the Dutch, 13-11 for the year, were competitive in singles as well.
“It was close all the way,” Tyler said. “I’ve got to say, hats off to Wartburg. It was a neutral site with good conditions, and they won.”
Tyler was especially impressed with a comeback by Collin Schares (junior, Johnston) rallied before dropping a 6-1, 1-6, 6-4 decidion at No. 4, 1-6, 6-1, 6-4.
“Colin lost the first set 6-1 and was really up against it,” Tyler said. “But he came back to win the second set. That’s a testimony to his strong will.”
Central had to go much of the year without one of the squad’s top players, senior Kyle Freischlag (Downers Grove, Ill., South HS), who had off-season surgery. He made an early return in the season’s final weeks, but was limited to doubles action at No. 3, after playing at No. 1 singles and doubles much of the previous two seasons.
“Kyle showed a lot of guts and determination to do that,” Tyler said. “But we showed that up and down the lineup.”
Chris Kosmicki (junior, Greeley, Colo., Northridge HS) came off surgery as well, and teamed with Freischlag at No. 3 doubles.
In addition to Freischlag, the Dutch graduate John Seier (Waverly, Neb.) and BJ Cunningham (Cedar Rapids, Kennedy HS). They played Nos. 5 and 6 singles, respectively.
“BJ hadn’t played in his first two-and-a-half years but came in and won a lot of matches for us,” Tyler said. “John Seier had a great singles record (15-8) and has really grown into a great player.”
Those kind of efforts made it an enjoyable ride for Tyler.
“We had a nice spring,” he said. “I’m really proud of the guys. They worked hard and were on the court a lot. They developed a good tennis culture here.”
And the top four singles players return next fall.
“That’s a pretty good core,” Tyler said.