By Becky Walz,
The North Central Tennis Conference held their conference tournament on Saturday in Waverly with the Decorah girls’ tennis team coming out on top, crowning all six individuals as champs with 44 points. The tournament hosted six teams including Decorah, Clear Lake, Charles City, Osage, Oelwein and Waverly Shell Rock.
“Coach Berland did a phenomenal job preparing his players. With two big tournaments under their belt prior to conference, the players were ready for back to back matches, staying sharp against the competition and feeling confident in their ability to withstand wind and heat. The program can be proud of the longstanding dedication to the quality of the Decorah girls tennis experience,” said Coach Miriam Skrade. “I hadn’t been a part of bell ringing before and it was fun to cheer on the girls as they each took their turn proclaiming their team victory!”
The tournament was flighted so that each No. 1 player from their school would play each of the No. 1 players from each of the other five schools. The same was true for the No. 2 players, No. 3 players and so on. The girl that had the most wins was the first criteria for determining a champion of a flight followed by number of games won. If needed, a tiebreaker would be played to determine the individual’s placement. The champion of each flight received 5 points, with the second receiving 4, the third 3, etc. The total points that each player received were then added together to determine the team champion. Each player who finished as the champion of their flight was crowned All-Conference.
Junior and senior players from each team who had a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or greater were awarded Academic All-Conference Awards. Vikings earning this award were Cady Peterson, Morgan Brauer, Kendra Bigler Mara Holland and Paige Lange.
“The weather made playing difficult and very interesting at the same time. You dared not take your eye off the ball or you may never see it again. The wind gusts of 40+ mph along with a 91-degree temperature made life very tough throughout the day of competition,” said Coach Larry Berland. “When the dust cleared, and I mean cleared, with all that had blown onto the courts during the day, Decorah had won all six singles’ flights along with No. 1 doubles and No. 3 doubles. No. 2 doubles finished with the silver medal winning all but one match and losing to the champion Waverly-Shell Rock duo by one game. It was a super effort by the Vikes to prevail the way that they did and bring the conference plaque to Decorah. Without the senior leadership of Kendra Bigler, Morgan Brauer and Cady Peterson throughout the day leading by example, the outcome could have been completely different.”