BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
ELDRIDGE – Seniors Johnny Hernandez and Dante Seaney captured a district championship at the Class 1A tennis districts Thursday at North School High School.
The duo swept four doubles matches on the day to qualify for state in Waterloo May 26 -27th at the Byrne’s Park Tennis Complex.
In the first match of the day, Hernandez and Seaney downed Maquoketa’s Kyle Davidson and Kyle Schwenkel and only gave up one game in the best of three set match, 6-0, 6-1. Next up was Davenport Assumption and again the Fort Madison duo won in straight sets 6-3, 6-3.
The Hounds then faced some familiar faces in Read Reiter and Gavin Haner of Keokuk. Reiter and Haner had downed Hernandez and Seaney 6-4, 6-2 back on April 27 in Keokuk. But the FMHS seniors returned the favor with a 6-4, 6-4 straight set win over the Chiefs to advance to the final doubles match of the day against Fairfield. The Bloodhounds had knocked off the Fairfield duo last week at Fairfield 6-4, 6-4 and came out of the gate with a 6-0 win in the first set. Fairfield fought back in the 2nd set to a 6-6 tie but Seaney and Hernandez won the tiebreaker 8-6 to take the district doubles title.
“I knew they had the ability and sometimes it takes that, some good shot selection, and maybe just a little luck in the draw,” said head coach Dean Hogan. “This is a very even play between the teams in our conference. Any given day anyone can win. I figured they would do some nice things today.”
Austin Krueger and Sam Avery played in doubles action as well, but lost their first match to Keokuk’s Gage Stice and Michael Simpson 0-6, 2-6 and then fell to the district runners up in Fairfield’s Gannon Courtright and Navin Martin 3-6, 5-7.
Tim Shin was eliminated in singles action as he fell to Fairfield’s Jarod Wilbon in a match that went to a third set 1-6, 6-3, 4-6. Conrad Hellman also was bounced after his first match when he fell to Assumption’s Jack Thomas 6-0, 6-2. Thomas was the district runner-up in singles action.
The Hounds will face Mount Pleasant on Saturday at 9 a.m. for team sub-state competition in Fort Madison, according to the Iowa High School Athletic Association website.