The Newton boys tennis team scored 20 points to finish fifth out of six teams at the Little Hawkeye Conference tennis meet in Norwalk on Monday.
The weather-shortened spring season showed itself in the meet, as the Cardinals lost winnable matches to opponents from Oskaloosa and Knoxville, both of which were scheduled for meets last week.
“I’m very happy with how the guys played. They showed a lot of determination during their matches,” Newton coach Seth Banwell said. “We faced some really tough competition early in the season and made remarkable progress throughout the season. It’s crazy how much the team’s skills developed in such a short amount of time.”
The Cardinals picked up first-round victories from senior Kyle Portner in No. 2 singles and in No. 2 doubles from senior Spencer Hook and junior Brendan Brown. Portner cruised to a 6-3, 6-1 victory in his first-round match, then eventually lost in a grueling second-rounder that ended with a 6-10 tiebreaker and a fourth-place finish.
“This match was purely based on endurance. Both players had been on the court for four to five hours and that was evident in the lengthy points being played,” Banwell said. “Kyle displayed a lot of determination and fought so hard in this match. I was proud of his strong effort.”
Hook and Brown also had a marathon match in the first round, but they eventually pulled off a victory by winning six of the final seven points of the tiebreaker. However, their day came to an end in the third-place match with a 4-6, 0-6 loss.
“It was a very intense and exciting moment for the guys,” Banwell said of Hook and Brown’s first-round match. “They stayed calm and hit some nice volley winners to pull off the win.”
Also competing for Newton in the tournament was senior Nate Hinshaw at No.1 singles and senior Sebastian Peters and junior Ben VanDalen at No. 1 doubles. Both Hinshaw and Peters/VanDalen finished sixth.