When you learn that siblings Pete and Kate Walker have a tennis court at their house in Red Oak, you assume that at least some of those hours were spent playing mixed doubles together.
“We’ve pretty much played two days together, last year and this year,” Pete Walker said. “We’ve never even hit together or anything.”
On Tuesday, the Walkers were in perfect harmony, winning four straight matches, including a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Boone’s Kelli Greiner and Chad Moklestad in the championship match of the Class 1-A state coed doubles tournament at the Drake Indoor Tennis Facility in Des Moines. They were third in the event last season.
In the process Tuesday, senior Pete and sophomore Kate surprised each other a little bit. Pete had watched Kate finish fifth in the 1-A singles tournament and thought he knew what to expect from her.
“She surprised me,” he said. “She was better than I thought she would be.”
Having siblings as doubles partners can have its pros and cons, both players agreed.
“The last two years I’ve played a brother-sister team both times,” Pete said. “The brother made the sister cry both times.”
Kate Walker also was aware of the problems some sibling teams have had.
“Last year, I was kind of nervous to play with him because I didn’t know how he was going to act,” she said. “But he was actually a really good doubles partner. He gave me some confidence. He never gets down on me.”
Iowa is the only state to hold a coed tournament. Red Oak coach Dan Martinez couldn’t have been more pleased with the outcome.
“The fact that they could win a state title together and have their picture together, it was very gratifying,” he said. “They are super kids.”
Martinez said Pete Walker, who finished fourth in the 1-A singles state tournament, got in a serving rhythm early and never let up.
“I haven’t seen Pete serve so dominantly,” he said. “His serve was untouchable.”
Also from Red Oak, Zoey Baker and Jordan Nelson won a pair of matches to reach the quarterfinals, where they lost in straight sets to Waterloo Columbus’ Lindsay McManus and Alex Bernt.
The Walkers rolled past Davenport Assumption’s Hailey Resnick and Mikey Corsiglia 6-1, 6-2 in the semifinals.
“The two together, it was just a perfect combination,” Martinez said.
Kate Walker said it was great to send her brother out in style. He’s leaning toward attending Northwest Missouri State and playing tennis, but has a couple more visits to make.
“It was a lot of fun, just to know it was his last high school career match,” she said. “It’s really cool to finally win something for him, too, because he’s worked really hard.”
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