Friday’s Johnston Invitational girls’ tennis tournament featured some of the strongest teams in the CIML.
Ankeny Centennial placed fourth among the four teams with 84 points, but only 26 points separated the entire field. The host Dragons won the tournament with 110 points, Dowling Catholic was second with 107, and Valley took third with 89.
“This invitational was very competitive,” said Centennial coach Emily Phommachack. “There was a lot of great tennis played by all players. Although as a team we came in last place, I was still very happy to see all the ladies put forth such great effort. They left everything out on the court and did a nice job of playing smart and aggressive tennis.”
The Jaguars were led by the duo of freshman Jordyn Gustafson and junior Tayler Bloom. They won the No. 3 doubles flight with 25 points.
“Jordyn and Tayler were the surprise of the day,” Phommachack said. “These two just started playing together on Thursday and already have formed a strong partnership. Their aggressiveness and communication skills work to their advantage as they do a nice job of placing the ball in their doubles matches. It does not take them long to really strategize what their next move will be. These two definitely deserved first place!”
Centennial’s Alyssa Lewton and Alli Gustafson placed second at No. 1 doubles. Teammates Katie Miller and Rita Nisius also earned runner-up honors at No. 2 doubles.
“Alyssa and Alli are really coming together as a strong doubles team,” Phommachack said. “It was fun to watch them play some tough competition because you can see the growth and improvement they have achieved thus far throughout the season.”
Olivia Vandeloo placed third for the Jaguars at No. 2 singles. Grace Nemmers finished fourth in the No. 1 singles flight.
“Being placed in the singles positions in a tournament like this is not easy,” Phommachack said. “The girls were up against some very tough and competitive players, but Grace and Olivia did an amazing job of holding their own out on the court and made the opponents work for their points.”