The Little Cyclones Girls Tennis team finished the 2018 regular season with a 10-0 record and a conference title. A week later on May 21, they punched their ticket for the 12th straight year to the team state tournament after beating Johnston to be one of the final 8.
Tennis is a unique sport in that athletes have an opportunity to compete individually and as a team in the post season. For Ames High, most of the girls did both. The girls nearly swept the regional singles and doubles state qualifying tournament on May 16. Freshman Arunadee Fernando was the overall singles champion, and the doubles team of Chloe Wilson and Caitlyn Hanulikova won doubles over their teammates Lauren Couves and Shria Chug. As a result, Ames High qualified 5 out of 6 athletes individually, setting up a busy week from May 30 – June 2 with both individual and team tournaments taking place.
At the individual state tournament, Fernando won two matches and advanced to the semi-finals before losing to the #1 seed in the tournament. She finished 4th overall. The doubles team of Wilson/Hanulikova replicated Fernando’s performance and also finished 4th overall in the state.
The final four at team state competed on June 2nd in Iowa City. There are nine matches (6 singles, 3 doubles) that determine a head-to-head winner. Ames High easily moved through Pleasant Valley 5-1 in their semifinal round, setting up a championship match versus Iowa City West. After singles play, each team won three matches, but Iowa City West won 2 of the 3 doubles matches to take the state title. On Twitter, Coach Rhoads wrote “We felt just about every emotion a human can feel and I’ll always remember this day… the pain, the joy, the pride, the determination, the tears, and them never giving up. I’m so proud of them and very lucky to get to coach such awesome people. It was a great season. WE WILL BE BACK.”