CEDAR RAPIDS — The final day of tennis Sunday at the Baird Iowa Open had a distinct Kohawk feel to it — past, present and future.
Former Linn-Mar standout and incoming Coe freshman Brady Anderson battled through 25-mile-per-hour wind gusts and won the men’s open final with an impressive 6-1, 6-1 ouster of defending champion and Coe alumnus Tom Jennings at the Veterans Memorial Tennis Center.
“I was able to weather the conditions pretty well,” Anderson said. “I was able to move it around, keep changing up the pace, keep him off-balance. It worked pretty well.”
Anderson also claimed the morning semifinal, 7-5, 6-4, over former Cedar Rapids Kennedy prep Riley Galbraith, his first tournament victory against his future Kohawk teammate.
“Occasionally I’ll nip him in practice, but he usually beats me so I guess it’s nice to get a win for a change,” Anderson said. “It was definitely a good win. Thankfully I was able to pull it out.”
Anderson plans to compete in the Iowa Midlands Adult Open Aug. 15 in Iowa City before beginning his collegiate career, where he hopes to help Coe qualify for another NCAA Division III tournament and also become an individual qualifier.
“It should be exciting,” Anderson said. “I can’t wait to start.”
The addition of Anderson, plus the return of Galbraith and three more of his top six singles’ players also excites Coe Coach Eric Rodgers, who was honored Sunday with induction into the Iowa Tennis Hall of Fame.
“If we stay healthy, I think this has a chance to be one of the best teams in Coe’s history,” Rodgers said. “We’re pretty good. This could be a real special year.”
The women’s open was played in a round-robin format, with Coe rising sophomore Sarah Lasecki outlasting Kohawk teammate Laura Birky in a third-set tiebreaker, 6-4, 2-6, 10-6.
“I feel honored to come out on top,” said Lasecki, who prepped at Kennedy. “It’s hard playing friends, but once you’re out there you put everything aside.”
New Coe women’s tennis coach Kris Diehl, who ascended to the position after Rodgers switched his focus exclusively to the men’s team, was a part of wins in the women’s open doubles and mixed open doubles (with Galbraith).
Galbraith and Jennings were victorious in the men’s open doubles, 6-4, 6-3, over Phil Williams and former Iowa City West Trojan Blake Oetting.
Linn-Mar boys’ tennis coach Chris Wundram completed a busy tournament with three National Tennis Rating Program titles — men’s 4.0 singles and doubles and combined mixed 8.0 doubles.
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