May 20th, 2017

St. Xavier's tennis team wins ninth straight title

Jeff Woods 

Staff Writer 

St. Xavier's tennis team wins ninth straight title
The Tigers celebrate with their hardware / photo by Jeff Woods

 Lexington – The St. Xavier tennis team continues to run like a well-oiled machine with no signs of slowing down.

The Tigers won their ninth consecutive team state title Saturday at the KHSAA State Tennis Tournament at the University of Kentucky. St. X also claimed the boys’ doubles title with the duo of senior Spencer Blanford and junior Preston Cameron. They defeated West Jessamine’s Brody Bilderback and Tanner Sparks in straight sets 6-3, 6-2. To cap things off, senior Drew Singerman was named Mr. Tennis at the awards presentation.

“It’s really a strong effort by boys who really work hard at it all year long,” said St. Xavier head coach Gil Downs. “We’re really blessed to have 23 guys who play on the team that really work on tennis all year and it shows up here in the team championship.”

For Cameron, this is his second state title in boys’ doubles. He partnered with Matt Graft to take home the hardware in 2016 as well. This year, he and Blanford rolled through the season without a single blemish on their record.

“Last year, I would say I was pretty scared and nervous,” said Cameron. “This is a completely different experience. Being able to tell myself ‘I’ve done this before, just go out there and swing’ that’s what really helped me.”

“It feels great. I wanted this really bad and it feels awesome to be able to do it with a good friend of mine,” said Blanford. “We always pick each other up when we’re not playing well and we both played really well today. Preston played awesome and I’m very happy with how I played.”

In singles action, junior Alex Westbrooks and Singerman entered the tournament as the No. 1 and No. 2 overall seeds respectively. Both were upset, however, by Dunbar’s Matt Halpin who defeated Singerman 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 in the boys’ singles final.

“When the draws and the seeds came out, we were all looking to see where he would sit,” said Downs. “We knew it would be tough for one or both of our guys facing him because he has a very big first serve. It was kind of going a little slow early, but when he got it going that was about it for the end of the first set and the second set against Drew.”

The team title is St. Xavier’s 26th overall, 21 more than the next highest total. To say the Tigers have dominated boys tennis in Kentucky would be an understatement.

“Being a part of St. X tennis is probably one of the biggest things in my life I take pride in,” says Cameron. “We work harder than everybody and it shows a lot with how we play.”

“I’m very proud of this team. With all of the people I’ve met, it is just an awesome experience. And to win these state championships was pretty much icing on the cake,” said Blanton.

Trinity placed second overall in the team standings. The Shamrocks’ best performances came from freshman Presley Thieneman, who reached the boys’ singles semifinals and the duo of senior Sam Rueff and sophomore Brandon Chou. They advanced to the semifinals in boys’ doubles. 


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