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ANKENY – West High showed last week it had some of the top individual tennis players in the state winning singles and doubles titles in the same season for the first time in program history.
On Tuesday, the Trojans proved they had the best tennis team in Iowa as well.
Top-ranked West High completed the title triple crown on Tuesday winning the Class 2A team championship with a 5-1 win over third-ranked Linn-Mar at Prairie Ridge Sports Complex in Ankeny.
The title was the second straight and fifth in the last six years for West High and came without three-time singles champion Jiung Jung who sat out the title match with an injury sustained in the semifinals.
“We were concerned about going into this without Jiung, I don’t think any team in the state could lose their number one player and a player like Jiung and respond the way that we did,” West High coach Mitch Gross said. “I think that’s a heck of a testament to our guys.”
The 2A title secured the season title trifecta for West High for the first time in program history after Jung won the singles title and Jack Wenzel and Cole Schneider won the doubles crown last Saturday.
It marked the ninth time in state history a team has won singles, doubles and team titles in the same season and West High became just the third 2A team to accomplish that feat and first since Des Moines Roosevelt in 2009.
“The triple crown is fun but we never made that a goal,” Gross said. “I did share in the huddle that we just did something that probably it will be a long time if it ever happens again and I really want them to embrace and remember this moment.”
West High had to win its team title without Jung who injury defaulted in a 5-1 win over West Des Moines Valley in the semifinals.
“Deep, deep down I thought we would be alright but Linn-Mar is very good,” Gross said. “This one is special being one of only a few teams to do something and to be a part of that with this group of players is very, very special.”
West High opened play on Tuesday with a win over No. 7 West Des Moines Valley but the loss felt more like a loss for West High with the injury to Jung.
The Trojans regrouped, shuffled their lineup with freshman Eddie Dowling sliding into the No. 6 singles spot and everyone else moving up a spot.
It didn’t slow West High against Linn-Mar as Schneider secured the title win with a 6-1, 6-7, 6-4 victory over Linn-Mar junior Ben Hediger.
“It was tough losing Jiung but even with that we felt ready,” Schneider said. “I knew we were in position to play, everybody stepped up big today and I think that was a huge reason why we won.”
It was a true team effort for West High on Tuesday as the Trojans showed their depth in defeating Linn-Mar in a title match for the second time in four seasons.
West High took a 4-0 lead in singles play as Brad DiLeo and Sasha Chackalakal each earned straight-set victories at No. 4 and No. 5.
Sophomore Sam Shin outlasted Lucas Huffman 7-6, 6-3 to make it 3-0.
“This is legendary,” Shin said. “It’s extraordinary to be part of this.”
Dowling, inserted into the lineup for Jung, rallied from an opening set loss to down Jackson Ellis at No. 6 to give West High a 4-0 lead.
“I had played him before and I kind of knew how he played,” Dowling said. “I just kind of got in that aggressive mindset and that helped.”
Schneider, the lone senior in the West High title match lineup took care of the rest, fending off a strong performance from
The win capped an impressive unbeaten season for West High (19-0) which didn’t lose more than two matches in any of its 19 victories.
Even without its top player, only four of 10 state tournament wins on Tuesday required a third set for West High players.
“I think being here that past experience really helped us and we knew we had to step up with Jiung out,” Schneider said. “I’m just really proud of these guys today.”
West High 5, West Des Moines Valley 1
1. Brook Norwood (WDV) injury default Jiung Jung
2. Cole Schneider (ICW) Moise Habineza 6-2, 6-2
3. Jack Wenzel (ICW) Neil Sura 6-2, 6-4
4. Sam Shin (ICW) Roy Jensen 5-7, 7-5, 6-4
5. Brad DiLeo (ICW) def. Varun Myneni 6-3, 4-6, 7-5
6. Sasha Chackalakal (ICW) def. Matt Giles 6-3, 7-5
West High 5, Linn-Mar 1
1. Cole Schneider (ICW) def. Ben Hediger 6-1, 6-7, 6-4
2. Luke VanDonslear (LM) def. Jack Wenzel 7-6, 6-1
3. Sam Shin (ICW) def. Lucas Huffman 7-6 (5), 6-3
4. Brad DiLeo (ICW) def. Zach Glanz 6-2, 6-3
5. Sasha Chackalakal (ICW) def. Jack Gertsen 6-1, 6-2
6. Eddie Dowling (ICW) def. Jackson Ellis 3-6, 6-4, 6-2