IOWA CITY — Luke Vaughan and Micah Flaherty added their names to a long list of Fort Dodge tennis medalists Wednesday at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Center.
Vaughan and Flaherty finished eighth in the Class 2A doubles tournament after action was moved indoors due to weather conditions.
On Tuesday, the pair rode back-to-back wins after a first-round loss to reach the medal round. They fell to Mazen Alsheikha and Gavin Pangan of Pleasant Valley in the consolation semi-finals, before ending the two-day event with a loss to Jake Wallrichs and Zach Mersch of Linn-Mar.
Wallrichs and Mersch were the same tandem that knocked them out in the first round.
“I’m just excited for Micah and Luke,” FDSH head coach Scott Messerly said. “They played so well at the end of the season and wanted to qualify for the medal round, which was their goal. Seeing them achieve this was truly a great moment.
“I don’t think people on the outside looking inside understand how difficult it is to win a medal. They’re the best players in the entire state, but Micah and Luke took it one game at a time and played really well.
Vaughan, a senior, suffered a broken jaw that nearly ended his season. Although he kept his mouth shut, he could only miss a short period of time before returning to the courts for the Dodgers.
“I think we’re both really proud of what we’ve done,” said Vaughan. “We came into the state with the goal of ranking up, so it was good to accomplish that. I was a bit bummed after losing our last two matches but considering five weeks ago we hadn’t even thought about the possibility of competing in the state due to my injury, that really helps to put things into perspective.
“Overall, I’m just happy to come home with equipment and the fact that we can compete with some of the best doubles teams in Iowa.”
Flaherty was just one of seven freshmen to qualify in singles and doubles.
“Getting to the state was our first goal,” said Flaherty. “Once we accomplished that, placing in the state was the next thing we thought of. I was just happy to be able to do it with one of my best friends and proudly represent the Dodgers.
Iowa City West’s Jayden Shin and Samir Singh won the doubles title, while West Des Moines Dowling’s Daniel Lu won the singles gold.
Messerly also wanted to thank his assistant coach, Ethan Martin, for “helping so much this year, especially this week at the state.”