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Galbraith, Hammond miss sweep at Iowa Open

They go to different high schools, but Katie Hammond and Riley Galbraith have been the best of friends since they were little kids.

They started out in club soccer together years ago.

Now 17-year-old seniors-to-be, Hammond has been a lynchpin on the Washington team while Galbraith has starred for Kennedy.

They’re also tennis phenoms who have been tournament doubles partners since the age of 9 or so.

Hammond took third in singles in this spring's high school state tournament, Galbraith fourth.

Riley’s dad, Tom, is Katie’s tennis coach at the Cedar Rapids Country Club. Katie is dating Riley’s best friend.

“I’m over at her house about every night,” says Riley.

And the two of them almost pulled off a clean sweep over the past two days in the junior division of the Baird Iowa Open Tennis Tournament at the Veterans Memorial Tennis Center.  They claimed the 18-and-under mixed doubles title Thursday night, then each coasted to singles titles Friday morning.

Galbraith passed up boys doubles, saving himself for men’s open competition this weekend.

And Hammond’s  try for a triple crown turned on a twisted ankle, suffered in the second set of a marathon doubles match that was decided by a 11-9 tiebreaker loss.

She and 15-year-old Washington doubles teammate Rina Moore took a 6-2 first set win over recent Kennedy grad Jackie Pedersen and Xavier senior-to-be Laura Birky. Trailing 3-2 in the second set, Hammond re-injured the same ankle that had caused her problems during the spring soccer and tennis seasons. She gutted it out the rest of the way but lost 6-3 in the second set and then the tiebreaker.

Still, victory was not certain in the hard-fought two-hour battle before she got hurt.

“We were coming back,” said Birky, who earlier in the morning had lost 6-0, 6-2 to Hammond for the 18-and-under singles title after knocking off the No. 1 seed in the semifinals.

And second-seeded Pedersen, who will attend Coe College this fall, provided Hammond her toughest match of the tournament before falling 6-2, 6-3.

On the boys side, meanwhile, the top-seeded Galbraith had little trouble throughout and toppled Dobby O’Donnell of Sioux Falls, S.D., 6-1, 6-2 to claim the 18-and-under singles.

“I’m playing really well right now,” said the champ, “peaking right where I want to be at the end of summer.”

After a disappointing state tourney, when he lost a heart-breaking semifinal match that took almost four hours during a rain delay, Galbraith said he’s been hitting major juniors tournaments this summer in the Mississippi Valley region.  He’s played against nationally-ranked competitors in Kansas City, St. Louis and Iowa City and has the Midlands in Iowa City coming up before school starts.

“My game is pretty sharp,” Galbraith said, “and I’m not missing any easy shots.”

Elsewhere in the junior division of the Iowa Open, there were family connections all over the courts.

Ellie Anderson and Jackson Hoyt beat Lilly Hartman and Oliver Hammond, all of Cedar  Rapids, in the 14-and-under mixed doubles.  Anderson, 12, also won the 12-and-under girls singles title for the third year in a row.

Jackson Hoyt took the 16-and-under boys singles and teamed with Ellie’s brother Brady to capture the 16-and-under doubles.

Older brothers Clayton Hoyt and Mitchell Anderson, teammates at Washington, lost on a pair of tiebreaker sets in the finals of the 18-and-under doubles to Alex Bernt of Cedar Falls and Aaron Chalstrom of Fort Dodge.

Last Updated ( Friday, 29 July 2011 17:03 )  

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