Aaron Chalstrom is optimistic that the fourth time will be a charm.
Following three straight Class 1A state singles runner-up performances, the St. Edmond senior is focused on ending his decorated high school tennis career with a gold medal.
"I've been pretty fortunate to get to the finals the past three years, and I definitely would've liked to win (a title), but it just didn't happen," Chalstrom said. "I'm hoping this time I can finally do it. I've been trying to play as much as I can inside, and I've also been going to Ames a lot on the weekends."
All six of Chalstrom's varsity losses have come against state champions. Last year, he avenged an individual state finals setback to Boone's John Ellis at team state, where SEHS placed second to Davenport Assumption.
"I've lost to a lot of really good players, and they've all been close (matches), so I have no regrets," said Chalstrom.
Chalstrom began playing tennis at the age of eight.
TIMEOUT WITH AARON CHALSTROM
Vacation destination: Chicago.
People I would like to have dinner with: David Flattery, Alex Mericle, Tommy Setterdahl.
It would surprise people that I: almost quit playing tennis when I was little.
My sports role model: John Engler.
My everyday role model: my dad.
I can't go a day without: Oreo cookies.
Superstition: I?don't want anyone to touch my tennis racket.
Most heated rivalry: Humboldt.
Favorite road trip: state basketball in Des Moines.
What are you listening to right now? The Fray.
Team: Red Sox
Movie: High School Musical.
Magazine: Sports Illustrated.
"We live right across the street from (Dodger Courts), and my parents got me started," said Chalstrom, whose twin sister Ellen is also a three-time defending state qualifier for the Gael girls. "I didn't really like it at first and wanted to quit, but my parents made me keep playing. Tennis is now my favorite sport."
On the baseball diamond, Chalstrom owns a .284 (52-for-183) career batting average with 39 runs scored and 29 RBI in 82 games. He was a starting second baseman for 2A state quarterfinalist St. Edmond as a freshman.
"Baseball was actually my first love," Chalstrom said. "I'm really going to miss playing with all my friends."
In basketball, Chalstrom connected on an impressive 47.5 percent (47 of 99) of his career longball attempts. Only 67 of his 208 total points came from inside the arc. He helped SEHS to a 2A state runner-up effort in 2012 by draining a pair of clutch triples in a 56-44 semifinal overtime victory over Clarinda.
"Making it to state last year was probably the funnest week of my life," said Chalstrom. "Playing basketball for Coach (Adolph Kochendorfer) has been special. He's taught me about overcoming things in life - not just basketball."
Chalstrom plans on continuing his tennis career at either Creighton University or Gustavus Adolphus College.