Vikes claim conference title, beat No. 5 Columbus

By Becky Walz,

The second NEIC-WaMac boys tennis conference meet was held at the Luther College tennis complex Wednesday, with Decorah claiming the team title. The Vikings followed the victory up with another, besting Class 1A No. 5 Waterloo Columbus at home Thursday, 5-4.

Conference title
The Decorah guys were very successful winning 8 of the 9 flights to earn the team title in the conference meet. 
“Pre-meet scores indicated that Marion would be tough in the top two flights and Maquoketa would be tough in the lower flights,” said Coach Reg Laursen.
In singles flight No. 1 Gabe Anderson had the best singles match of the day beating the No. 1 seed Seth Blackford of Marion, 8-3.  At No. 2 singles Caden Branum won all three matches by the score of 8-1, while No. 3 singles player Daniel Skrade had a first round bye then did what he had to win his next two matches, 8-0 and 8-2.  Brendan Hunter was at the No. 4 spot and played some nervous tennis only to lose to the No. 1 seed in the finals 8-9 TB (3-7).  Edwin Holyoake dominated the No. 5 singles flight with scores of 8-0 and then 8-1 in the finals. Luke Walter completed the singles run with scores of 8-1 and 8-3 to win the No. 6 singles flight.
The doubles flights proved a little tougher in the finals for the 1 and 2 flights. At No. 1, Anderson/ Branum bested a pesky, lobbing, W-SR team 8-4 in the final. Hunter/ Holyoake similarly had to grunt, winning 8-4 against a pair from Maquoketa at No. 2. Noah Tapscott/Landon Baker cruised at No. 3 with scores of 8-0, 8-1 and 8-0 in their three matches.

Team standings
1. Decorah 53; 2. Waverly-Shell Rock 39; 3. Maquoketa 38; 4. Marion 26; 5. South Tama 13; 6. Independence 11; 7. Oelwein 9

Quality opponent
The Viking Boys Tennis team, after winning the Conference crown on Wednesday, were severely tested by the senior-laden Class 1A No. 5 Waterloo Columbus. Two years ago, Columbus beat Decorah twice by scores of 8-1 and 5-0; however, on Thursday it was Decorah who came away the victor, 5-4.
“At No. 1 Gabe Anderson played the singles match of the year against a very strong opponent using good strategic play throughout. At No. 2 Caden Branum also played the best singles he has produced, be it in a losing cause. He got better and better at playing a good mix of attacking and consistent tennis, but his opponent was phenomenal at getting good shots back when under extreme pressure.  
“Playing at No. 3 Daniel Skrade never got comfortable in his match. He battled hard all the way, but his opponent kept getting balls out of his strike zone. Brendan Hunter, at No. 4, played perhaps his best singles of season which was especially sweet after struggling on Wednesday. He pulled out a pivotal tension filled third set super breaker to win his match.  
“At No. 5 Edwin Holyoake continued his season-long improvement in singles to never really let his opponent get comfortable. Noah Tapscott, at the risk of sounding redundant, also played his best singles of this season at No. 6. He gained a lot of confidence in his doubles last weekend which carried over to his singles in this match,” said Coach Laursen.
“We as coaches couldn’t be prouder of the guys gutting out a win over a very high-quality opponent. This is fun for them and us. We will see how far we can ride this wave. This was a giant step toward our ultimate goal,” concluded Coach Laursen.

Singles: No 1 Gabe Anderson (Dec) defeated Jon Dobson, 6-3, 6-2; No. 2 Caden Branum (Dec) was defeated by Joseph Haag (Col), 3-6, 4-6; No. 3 Daniel Skrade (Dec) was defeated by Alex Feldmann (Col) 2-6, 2-6; No. 4 Brendan Hunter (Dec) defeated Alex Buser (Col), 6-2, 3-6, TB(10-8); No. 5 Edwin Holyoake (Dec) defeated Simon Larson (Col), 6-3, 6-2; No. 6 Noah Tapscott (Dec) defeated Patrick Underwood (Col), 6-1, 6-1
Doubles: No. 1 Anderson/Branum (Dec) was defeated by Dobson/Haag (Col), 3-6, 6-1, TB(6-10); No. 2 Skrade/Tapscott (Dec) was defeated by Feldmann/Buser (Col), 2-6, 4-6; No. 3 Hunter/Holyoake (Dec) defeated Larson/Underwood (Col), 6-2, 6-0

What lies ahead
Monday, Decorah played at Onalaska in its final meet of the season. Wednesday, the Vikings will begin district action at Waverly-Shell Rock at 9 a.m. Other teams looking to keep their seasons alive will be Aplington-Parkersburg, Clear Lake, Columbus Catholic, Hampton-Dumont, Oelwein, Union and W-SR.


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