CLINTON — Clinton advanced to the team regionals with a third-place finish Thursday in the Iowa Class 2A district boys tennis tournament at the Ashford Tennis Center.
The River Kings will travel to Bettendorf to face the Bulldogs in the team regional semifinal Saturday, with the winner facing Marion Linn-Mar the following Saturday in Clinton. Linn-Mar won the team title Thursday with 27 points, followed by Bettendorf with 21 and Clinton with 13. Dubuque Senior (11), Dubuque Hempstead (6) and Davenport North (0) also participated.
“Our goal was only reached because every member of this team contributed,” Clinton coach John Mitchell said. “Other schools may have guys advancing to individual state, but our entire team’s season is continuing, and to us, that is most important.
“Three out of our four victories came in grueling third-set matches. We have struggled all season in third sets, but today the guys got over the hump when it mattered most.”
The doubles team of Evan Hood and Rohan Aggarwal had the most success for Clinton. Seeded fourth, they received a first-round bye, then defeated Josh Sumhiel and Nathan Belcher of Bettendorf 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) in the quarterfinals. Their day ended in the semifinals with a 6-0, 6-0 loss to top seeds Brady Anderson and Trevor McCann of Linn-Mar. Anderson was the Class 2A singles state champion last season.
Clinton’s other doubles team of Cyrus Colah and Connor Nolan beat North’s Nate Marks and Nick Wundram 6-1, 6-1 in the first round before falling to Gus Zuccaro and Jacob Mozena of Dubuque Senior 6-3, 6-1 in the quarterfinals.
In singles action, Sameer Ansari and Colin Nelson each went 1-1 for Clinton.
Ansari defeated Brett Borscheller of Dubuque Hempstead 6-4, 0-6, 6-3 in the first round but lost 6-4, 6-0 to fourth-seeded Isaac Luebke of Bettendorf in the quarterfinals. Nelson beat Ben Krieg of Dubuque Senior 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 and then lost 5-1, 6-0 to second seed Jeff Teng of Hempstead in the quarterfinals.
“Ansari had an extremely tough first-round match against Bortschiller,” Mitchell said. “Bortschiller is a senior who plays number two for Dubuque Hempstead and actually was a couple votes away from receiving the four seed today. A lot of freshmen playing number five would look at the draw and say, ‘The odds are too big to overcome,’ but Ansari never backs down, no matter what the odds are.”