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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Galbraith may have a tough choice

Riley Galbraith made the rounds of friends’ Kennedy High School graduation parties Thursday night, basking in the sweet feel of a big day in tennis on Friday and trying not to puzzle too much over the dilemma he may face Saturday.

With a mild upset victory Friday afternoon, he’s in the semifinals of today’s 2A state tennis tournament. But he’s also a starter and topnotch penalty kicker on the Kennedy soccer team that’s in a 3A substate finals match.

The location of the conflicting events isn’t bad, since the Veterans Memorial Tennis Center is just a parking lot apart from Kingston Stadium.

But the timing is dicey.

The highly-regarded but unseeded Galbraith is set to faceoff with third-seeded fellow junior Naveen Nath of Des Moines Roosevelt on the tennis court at 10 a.m.  They’ve split two previous encounters, so this will be a grudge match.

The winner goes for the state singles title at 2 p.m., while consolation match for third place starts at 1:30.

The soccer game with Cedar Falls kicks off at noon.

“I could do both,” said the two-sport star, who Friday was named Mississippi Valley Conference boys tennis athlete of the year.

“I might do both, but it depends on how I do in my semifinal match. I’d hate to let down my soccer teammates, but if I win I don’t think I could play and then come back and be at my best for the tennis finals.”

Just in case, he’ll have his soccer gear with him. If nothing else, he said might at least kick a penalty shot if needed.

“It could be challenging,,” the personable young Galbraith said last night, “But right now, my goal is to win the state tennis title. That would be huge. It’s the one thing I’ve always wanted.”

To get this far, he first dispatched Cedar Falls sophomore Rex Ju, 6-1, 6-1, then gutted out a 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 marathon match over second-seeded Bettendorf senior Kyle Johnson. A state doubles winner last year, Johnson and partner David DeSimone both qualified in singles this year instead.

“I think I’m peaking at just the right time,” Galbraith said after dominating the clinching third set. “And just making it to Saturday, that takes some of the pressure off.”

In this year’s doubles competition, meanwhile, Linn-Mar’s fourth-seeded Tyler McCann and Gavin Young took two hard-fought matches from Muscatine and Ankeny to reach Saturday morning’s semifinals.

They’ll face the top-ranked Des Moines Roosevelt duo of Will Hemminger and Harrison Kruse, who won the crown two years ago but spent last season at a Florida tennis academy.  Linn-Mar’s Young said, however, that he and  his partner are not intimidated by being underdogs.

“We didn’t play as well as we could have today. This is Tyler’s second time at state and my first. So there was a little bit of nerves. We’re going to have a tough match, but if we play our best I think we’ve got a chance at the finals.”

The Washington Warriors’ Clayton Hoyt and Mitch Anderson, fell to the third-seeded Ames duo Victor Wang and Calvin Song in three sets after winning the first one 6-3.  They bounced back in the consolation bracket, though, with  straight set wins over teams from Marshalltown and Mason City to stay alive for a possible fifth place finish.

“I was very pleased with the way the guys played today,” said Washington Coach Frank Howell, who took over the team at the start of the season after the sudden death of longtime coach Dave Meyer.  “It was tough drawing the No. 3 seed right off. But I was proud of the way they fought back.”

Friday's results

Last Updated ( Saturday, 28 May 2011 00:19 )  

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