Three advance to state; team regional Tuesday

By Becky Walz,

Haley Gossman (front) is ready for the return as her doubles partner Annalise Skrade serves. (Driftless Multimedia photos by Becky Walz)

It was a big two days of play on the courts for the Decorah girls tennis team. Wednesday, the Vikes had three qualify for the state. Seniors Annalise Skrade and Haley Gossman were the champions of the No. 1 doubles flight, while Evon Leitz took second in the singles competition.
The state singles and doubles tournament for Class 1A is Friday and Saturday, May 26-27, at Byrnes Park Tennis Center in Waterloo.

Team play
It’s been two years since the Vikes have been in the elite eight, but that’s where they are headed after defeating Hampton-Dumont-CAL and Charles City in the team regional Saturday at Luther College.
The morning began with Decorah cruising to a victory over Hampton-Dumont-CAL, 5-0. In state play, matches end as soon as a team reaches five points.
In match one, No. 3 Haley Gossman, No. 4 Olivia Huinker, No. 5 Camryn Holland and No. 6 Klaara Short earned double-bagel wins, with No. 2 Evon Leitz winning 6-0 and 6-1. Decorah’s No. 1 player Annalise Skrade was on the brink of finishing her match with a 6-1 and 6-0 victory when the match was called.
Charles City and Osage then squared off with the Comets coming away with the win. Round two was a tougher match for the Vikes, but Decorah still secured the 5-0 victory. Earning points for Decorah were Skrade, Leitz, Gossman, Huinker and Holland.
Team state qualifying play will continue Tuesday, May 16, on the Luther College courts at 1 p.m. Decorah’s round three opponent is yet to be determined as the winner is part of a region which was rained out Saturday. Teams from the Clear Lake region played Monday.

Moving on
Two Viking doubles teams and two singles players were represented in the regional individual state qualifier Wednesday. With a record of 8-3 for the season and 7-0 in the conference, Annalise Skrade and Haley Gossman were the No. 1 seed in the doubles bracket and proved they deserved that ranking as they finished as the regional champions.
Skrade will be playing at state for the third time in her career, after winning the doubles title with Haley Gossman who will make her inaugural appearance. The last two years, Skrade teamed with Mara Holland to go to state. The dynamic duo took down Waverly-Shell Rock’s Maggie Hart and Gemma Beam in round one, 6-0 and 6-1. Then it was Shelby Rowe and Jade Johnson of Hampton-Dumont-CAL falling to Skrade/Gossman 6-2 and 6-1. In the semifinals, the Viking doubles team defeated Osage twins Kaitlyn and Kendall Olson 6-2 and 6-1. As a whole, Skrade/Gossman only gave up nine of the 48 games played at the regional.
Varsity newcomers Jaidyn Duval and Kaitlyn Bjork lost a tough first-round match to Misty Harreld and Allie Severe of Dike-New Hartford, 1-6 and 3-6.
Playing singles Evon Leitz also advanced to state by taking second. With an overall record of 7-4-1, Leitz was seeded second. She battled a won a tough two-set battle 7-5 and 6-1 over Alexis Gielau of Waverly-Shell Rock in round one. Next up was Brooklyn Broek of Osage who the Viking defeated 6-0 and 6-2. It was an intense three-set match for Leitz against Dike-New Hartford’s Anna Frahm, with the Decorah netter winning 6-3, 2-6 and 6-2. In the final, Leitz dropped her first match to Adria Neymeyer of Aplington-Parkersburg, 3-6 and 1-6.
Freshman Olivia Huinker also competed in the individual competition, winning 6-4 and 6-3 over Katie Pritchard of Charles City in the first round. Huinker ultimately fell in round two to the overall top seed Neymeyer.

Team regional results vs. H-D-C
No. 1 Annalise Skrade (Decorah) defeated Aspen Harlan (H-D-C) 6-0, 6-0; No. 2 Evon Leitz (Decorah) defeated Heather Howery (H-D-C) 6-0, 6-1; No. 3 Haley Gossman (Decorah) defeated Jade Johnson (H-D-C) 6-0, 6-0; No. 4 Olivia Huinker (Decorah) defeated Chloe Craighton (H-D-C) 6-0, 6-0; No. 5 Camryn Holland (Decorah) defeated Olivia Hamm (H-D-C) 6-0, 6-0; No. 6 Klaara Short (Decorah) defeated Lauren Hill (H-D-C) 6-0, 6-0

Team regional results vs. CC
No. 1 Annalise Skrade (Decorah) defeated Katie Prtichard (CC) 6-1, 6-0; No. 2 Evon Leitz (Decorah) defeated Sophia Jenen (CC) default; No. 3 Haley Gossman (Decorah) defeated Liz Olson (CC) 6-0, 6-0; No. 4 Olivia Huinker (Decorah) defeated Hannah Hoffman (CC) 6-2, 6-4; No. 5 Camryn Holland (Decorah) defeated Maggie Boss (CC) 6-0, 6-2; No. 6 Klaara Short (Decorah) defeated Lauren Hill (CC) 6-4, 4-0

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