IOWA CITY — It was a pairing that Pleasant Valley High School's boys tennis coach Randy Brockhage didn't know if it would work out.
Being a head coach for 32 years, he has a certain sense of when things can go right.
"There is something here," Brockhage said. "That was in the back of my head. I knew there was something special there."
His instincts proved to be correct.
Folu Adekunle and Aaron Ingram secured a state runner-up finish at the Iowa Class 2A boys state tennis tournament on Wednesday afternoon at the University of Iowa Tennis Complex.
The two dropped their only match of the season in the state championship to Waukee Northwest's tandem of Jake Nelson and Kellan Croatt in a three-set thriller that the Wolves won 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 6-1.
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"It just shows that they ended up making a great team," Brockhage said.
It capped a banner year for Adekunle and Ingram as first-year doubles partners. They triumphed to win the No. 1 doubles title at the Mississippi Athletic Conference and the district tournament.
Initially, Brockhage thought Adekunle would play singles once districts and state commenced. That changed once he saw the two of them work together on the court.
And, how similar they play.
"Aaron and Folu like to bang the ball a lot," Brockhage said.
It didn't take long for Adekunle and Ingram to reach the finals as they blitzed past Mason City's duo of Reed Kruger and Justin Yarahmadi 6-3, 6-3.
That opening set victory from Croatt and Nelson was the first time an opponent had taken a set over Adekunle and Ingram.
PV's duo didn't wilt under the heat and forced a tiebreak, then forced a decisive third set. Yet Croatt and Nelson were simply too much in a dominant set to secure the state title.
It was a combination of unforced errors by Adekunle and Ingram plus the weather in Brockhage's eyes.
"High risk, high reward tennis," he said. "The first and second set were so back and forth and so competitive. We pressed a little bit."
Bettendorf's doubles team of Jack Reilly and Robert Matera walked away with a sixth place finish as they won their consolation semifinal 7-5, 6-4 to play for fifth.
They lost 6-4, 6-0 and left with sixth place medals.