CLINTON — Ryan Schroeder is no stranger to the Iowa High School boys tennis state tournament. Teammate Jacob Kruse never has advanced that far.
Schroeder credited Kruse’s desire to make it for helping the pair of Clinton seniors to advance Thursday by winning the doubles championship at the Class 2A district meet held at the Ashford Tennis Center. Schroeder will make his third trip to the state meet — he and 2012 graduate Mitch Schumacher qualified the past two years, placing sixth last spring — in two weeks in Cedar Rapids.
“(Kruse) was really determined because he took last year off and the two years before that he went for singles (and didn’t qualify),” Schroeder said. “I was (determined), too. I wanted to go back. The fact that I had been there and knew what it was like and how competitive it would be, we worked off that.”
The River Kings placed second in the team race with 24 points, two points behind Marion Linn-Mar.
“Clinton had a complete team effort, with everyone contributing points to the team,” Clinton coach David Moore said.
Kruse and Schroeder defeated Trevor McCann and John Kuster of Linn-Mar 6-4, 6-2 in Thursday’s championship. McCann and Kuster also finished second in their district meet last year and advanced to state but didn’t place.
“That was good competition heading into state,” Schroeder said. “We were hyped up from our previous match that guaranteed our spot (at state). We knew that going to state would be even a better feeling (if we won). It also gives us a better shot for a seed at state, and that’s a really big deal.
Schroeder and Kruse were guaranteed a trip to state when they beat Dubuque Senior’s Gabe Mozena and Gus Zuccaro 6-4, 6-1 in the semifinals.
Schroeder said the Clinton duo had an edge with the meet being moved indoors.
“It acutally makes a pretty big difference,” he said. “Jacob and I played there quite a bit this winter. I think it was an advantage for Jacob and me. When we went (to the Quad Cities) for the MAC meet, Pleasant Valley and Bettendorf had an edge down there because they played (at that facility).”
Playing indoors was nothing new for the Clinton pair, either.
“A lot of teams, when it rains their meets are canceled,” Schroeder said. “I think we almost played more inside than outside this year.”
He said the transition from playing with Schumacher the past few years to Kruse this spring had been smooth.
“Jacob has tons of energy, which is awesome, because sometimes I’m calm and it takes me awhile to get into a match,” he said. “Mitch, Jacob and I all have been playing for a long time, so there was not all that big of an adjustment.”
The decision to play doubles, rather than singles, wasn’t difficult, either.
“I think once we kind of saw some of the competition — we have a tough district — we thought by going doubles we had a better chance at making it to state. We developed some chemistry as the season went on.”
Clinton will host Dubuque Senior in the preliminary substate team competition at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
CLINTON CLASS 2A DISTRICT TENNIS MEET
1. Marion Linn-Mar 26; 2. Clinton 24; 3. Dubuque Senior 10. Other teams participating: Dubuque Hempstead, Western Dubuque
First round — Vamsi Marla (Clin) def. Sam Nieman (WD) 6-3, 6-2.
Second round — Evan Hood (Clin) def. Andy Solwalke (DS) 6-3, 6-2; Tim Paulson (LM) def. Marla 6-1, 6-0.
Semifinals — Brady Anderson (LM) def. Evan Hood (Clin) 6-0, 6-0; Paulson def. Jeff Teng (DH).
Championship — Anderson def. Paulson. Third place — Teng def. Hood 7-5, 6-1.
First round — Cody Nolan/Tony Hurlburt (Clin) def. Jacob Mozena/Johnny Dohrner (Senior) 6-4, 6-2.
Second round — Nolan/Hurlburt def. Lenz/Koerperich (WD) 6-2, 6-3; Jacob Kruse/Ryan Schroeder (Clin) def. Myers/Das (LM) 6-4, 6-2.
Semifinals — Trevor McCann/John Kuster (LM) def. Nolan/Hurlburt 6-0, 6-2; Kruse/Schroeder def. Gabe Mozena/Gus Zaccaro (DS) 6-4, 6-1.
Championship — Kruse/Schroeder def. McCann/Kuster 6-4, 6-2. Third place — Mozena/Zuccaro def. Nolan/Hurlburt 6-3, 6-2.