After her team enjoyed the best season in school history, Ankeny Centennial girls’ tennis coach Alli Gustafson has been named the Class 2A coach of the year.
Gustafson guided the Jaguars to a 12-3 record, capped off by a fourth-place finish in the Class 2A state team tournament. Six of her players also qualified for the individual state tournament, including junior Abbie Peterson, who earned a runner-up finish in Class 2A singles.
“When I found out, I was extremely surprised but beyond excited. It is a huge honor!” said Gustafson. “I have a great pair of assistant coaches and a supportive athletics department at ACHS that have encouraged me these past two years while trying to build the program. The girls worked hard all season and continued to show improvement, which enabled our great postseason run.”
Gustafson was a two-time state placewinner as a player at Centennial. As a senior in 2019, she placed fifth in Class 2A singles–the highest finish ever by a player from Ankeny at the time.
Gustafson, who was named to the Ankeny Fanatic all-time Ankeny girls’ tennis team in 2020, became one of the state’s youngest coaches when she took over the Centennial program in 2022. She guided the Jaguars to a 9-4 mark in her first season.
“It is nice to have our program be recognized by the other coaches in the state,” Gustafson said. “There is a great level of camaraderie amongst the CIML coaches who have selflessly mentored me as I have taken over this role of head coach. It is a huge honor to get this recognition!”