Host Bobcats denied at regionals
Another blazing hot day in the Central Iowa sun was the backdrop for a strong day of tennis at the MHS tennis courts with Class 2A Region 5 girls’ tennis.
Marshalltown did not qualify any singles or doubles entries for state, but their showings against a difficult group of opponents was a big step for head coach John Fiscus as he looks to grow the Bobcats’ program.
“It’s a whole community thing,” Fiscus said. “It’s not just the tennis team, it’s everybody needs to be part of it, especially families.
“It’s really paying off.”
Kennedy Feldman and Martina Manen Mur were the singles entries for the Bobcats, with Manen Mur grabbing the No. 4 seed and a first-round bye. Feldman was unseeded and played her first-round matchup against Chloe Corpman of Waterloo West. Feldman was aggressive and confident in the match and won 6-0, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals. Her matchup in the quarters was the region’s No. 1 seed and one of the top players in the state — Maya Mallavarapu of Cedar Falls.
Mallavarapu had an answer for every shot Feldman made, and despite the 6-0, 6-1 scoreline Fiscus was impressed with how the freshman performed against the eventual region champion.
“I felt great about Kennedy in singles,” Fiscus said. “She won her first match and went up against the No. 1 seed, which was good for her to see the experience of another player and the level she needs to try to work towards.”
Manen Mur was matched up with No. 2 seed Sasha Hyacinth of Waterloo West. Hyacinth was a Class 1A singles state champion at Columbus Catholic in 2021, and she showed her title-winning ability in a 6-0, 6-0 win over the Marshalltown sophomore.
The doubles pairings for Marshalltown were Emily Diggins and Brianna Hargrave and Regan Smith and Rebekah Downs.
Diggins and Hargrave were unseeded and went up against the Cedar Falls duo of Elena Escalada and Molly Boevers. Despite fighting hard, Escalada and Boevers prevailed 6-0, 6-1.
Smith and Downs were seeded fourth and granted a bye into the quarterfinals, where their first game of the day would be against Andrea Fransisco and Nellie Morgan from Ottumwa.
A straightforward 6-0, 6-1 victory was the result as Downs and Smith clinched their spot in the semifinals, going up against the No. 1 seed — Sriya Kalala and Ella Seger of Cedar Falls. A 6-0, 6-1 loss followed for the Bobcat duo, as they got a game but were overpowered by the eventual region champions.
This kicked them to the third place match, with the winner getting an alternate spot at state in case a doubles pairing had to pull out.
Downs and Smith went up against Escalada and Boevers, falling 6-2, 6-0 to finish in fourth place.
Now, the Bobcats will prepare for their first-round team regionals matchup with Mason City on Saturday at 9 a.m. The Bobcats played Mason City earlier in the year, winning 9-2.