MHS netters overcome first loss for third place

WEST DES MOINES – The Marshalltown boys’ tennis team gained experience from top to bottom but suffered its first loss of the early season Saturday during the West Des Moines Valley Tournament.

The Bobcats got bumped off by defending Class 1A state team runner-up Fort Dodge St. Edmond, 7-4, before bouncing Newton for the second time in five days to take the consolation match, 10-1.

Marshalltown sent only two regular singles players to the court against Newton and also brought in three new players to doubles action in a near-shutout. The Bobcats blanked these same Cardinals 11-0 in Tuesday’s season-opening dual meet in Newton.

Host Valley defeated Fort Dodge St. Edmond for the tournament title.

Marshalltown’s first-round pairing came against an experienced and salty FDSE lineup. No. 1 singles player Aaron Chalstrom is a three-time 1A state singles runner-up, No. 5 Zach Gailey is a state singles qualifier, and Nos. 2 and 4 John Eide and Ben Albright were state doubles qualifiers a year ago.

Chalstrom downed Marshalltown’s top singles player, Ryan Shomo, 6-2, 6-2, while Albright and Gailey also were straight-set winners. Gailey edged Jameson Eberline, 7-5, 7-6 (7-4), at No. 5 singles in a match that might have evened things up after Kalei Platt swept Eide at No. 2, 6-0, 6-3, and Blake Gimbel scored a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Konrad Laufersweiler at No. 3.

Shomo and Gimbel teamed together for the first time in this opening week for a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Eide and Laufersweiler at No. 1 doubles, and an FDSE forfeit at No. 5 doubles was Marshalltown’s only other victory.

In the consolation match, the Bobcats took five of six singles bouts and swept the doubles competition for an easy win again over Newton. Shomo and Platt dominated with wins of 6-0, 6-0, while Riley Wirth at No. 3 and Ryley Faircloth at No. 6 singles both had a 6-0 set in their sweeps.

In their singles debuts, Tyler Ashby prevailed at No. 5 while Kade Vopava was defeated at No. 4, 6-1, 2-6, (10-7).

Doubles teams of Gimbel and Eberline, Vopava and Ashby, Connor Cope and Ben Anzis, Tony Smith and Kruz Vazquez, and Devin Lawler and Eric Weinberg converted straight-set victories to finish off the Cardinals.

Marshalltown returns to West Des Moines on Tuesday for a dual meet against the Tigers, a returning 2A state team qualifier. MHS hosts the Bobcat Invite at 9 a.m. next Saturday, welcoming Ames, Fort Dodge, Mason City, Newton and Southeast Polk.