Xavier’s Quincey Johnson an unlikely state tennis qualifier

District roundup: Top-ranked Saints, Trojans dominated; Linn-Mar, Jefferson make 2A state as teams

Iowa City West’s Luca Chackalala hits the ball during the second round of the district tennis match at Iowa City West High School on Monday. (Savannah Blake / The Gazette)

On a Xavier boys’ team loaded with talent and experience, Quincey Johnson was the least likely to make it to state.

The sophomore played at No. 6 singles during the year. He joined senior Brady Horstmann in the singles draw in Monday’s district meet at Fairfield and was the surprise performer.

Johnson upset No. 2 seed Owen Vansickel of Mount Pleasant in the second round, then moved into the final opposite Horstmann, where he fell 6-0, 6-1. The second-place finish earned Johnson a place in the Class 1A state tournament later this month in Waterloo.

“We weren’t necessarily expecting that at all,” said Xavier Coach Jim Potts of Johnson’s performance. “Being our No. 6 player, I didn’t think it was right to put him up for a seed but right out of the gate he was ready to go. He beat the No. 2 seed and continued on from there. “

Horstmann, a state double champ last year, wasn’t pressed much during the day, but Potts was pleased with his focus.

“Brady was really solid all day,” Potts said. “There were some decent players down here today so he didn’t take anything for granted.”

The top-ranked Saints also will have the doubles team of Declan Coe and Hugh Courter returning to state after their 6-3, 6-0 win over Fairfield’s Garrett Flanagan and Jace Hannes in the title match. The only disappointment for Xavier was its second doubles team of Ryan Schmit and Trenton Link, falling in the semifinals to the Fairfield duo, in a third-set tiebreaker.

Xavier rolled to the team title with 32 points and will play in the substate tournament later this month.

Three area teams took home district team titles in Class 2A.

Iowa City West continued its dominance in Class 2A, rolling to the team title in its own district. Senior Luca Chackalackal downed his freshman teammate, Seth Smigel, in the singles final, 6-1, 6-3 while Jayden Shin and Samir Singh, seeded No. 2, upset top-seeded Anthony Schulte and JT McCrea of ​​Cedar Rapids Prairie, 6 -3, 6-4 in the doubles title match. West won with 32 points, outdistancing Bettendorf (15) and Cedar Rapids Washington (13).

At Iowa City Liberty, No. 5 Linn-Mar was the class of the field. Senior Ayush Kalia downed Ottumwa’s Toby Schmidt, 6-4, 6-3, in the singles final. The Lions had both doubles finalists as Malcolm Rice and Brock Hanna beat Jake Wallrichs and Zach Mersch, 7-6, 6-4. Linn-Mar took the team title with 31 points. Ottumwa was second with 16.

The team title in Cedar Falls went to Cedar Rapids Jefferson. The J-Hawks had 25 points, followed by Mason City (16) and Cedar Rapids Kennedy (13). Jefferson saw both of its doubles teams make it to state as Caleb Suiter and Jacob Strain topped Logan Miller and Logan Augustine, 6-1, 6-3, in the final.

Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s Parker Sprague earned a return trip to the singles state meet with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Neel Shah of Cedar Falls in the singles final.

All winners and runner-up advance to state on May 24-25. The Class 2A meet will be at Veterans Memorial Tennis Center in Cedar Rapids with the 1A meet set for Byrnes Park in Waterloo.

Top three team finishers move on to substate play. Second- and third-place teams play on Friday in the substate preliminary round with substate finals set for May 18.

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