The St. Xavier High School tennis team has won numerous accolades in its history, but head coach Kerry Lancaster is hoping for one more.
St. Xavier has won 31 doubles titles and 25 in singles, by far the most of any school in the state. On the team side, the Tigers will be going for their eighth straight team title.
However, the Tigers have never had both state finalists in singles and doubles in any given year.
“Our goal every year is to have everybody playing in the finals on the last day,” Lancaster said. “It’s never happened, but we’ve come close to it.”
St. Xavier took the first step toward achieving that milestone by sweeping the Sixth Region Tournament in impressive fashion, with an all-Tigers final Thursday evening at the University of Louisville’s Bass-Rudd Tennis Center. The Tigers will represent the Sixth Region in this weekend’s team tournament in Lexington, Ky. The singles and doubles tournaments will be the following weekend, May 19-21, also in Lexington.
In Thursday’s singles, junior Drew Singerman dominated teammate Alex Wesbrooks 6-1, 6-0 in a battle of players ranked among the top 100 in the nation.
“I played very well. and I don’t know if he was feeling his best out here today,” Singerman said of the sophomore Wesbrooks. “We’re usually pretty even in practice, and I love getting out there and hitting with him in practice. Today, I just stepped up my game. But he’s very good.”
Singerman is the likely favorite to win this year’s state singles title. A year ago, he lost to teammate Brandon Lancaster in the finals. Lancaster, the son of the St. X coach, now plays for the University of Louisville.
“He stroked the ball very well,” Kerry Lancaster said of Singerman. “He hit it very cleanly. I don’t think Alex brought his best game today, for whatever reasons. It does happen.
“I won’t say it doesn’t matter,” Lancaster said, “but they’re both (going to be) playing for the state championship. No one will care if they lost the regional if they win the state next week.”
In the doubles final, the Tigers’ Matt Graft and Preston Cameron used their powerful serves to coast past Spencer Blandford and Patrick Koshewa 6-2, 6-3.
Lancaster believes that Graft, a senior who has signed to play tennis at Xavier University, likely is the third-best player in the state, behind Lancaster and Wesbrooks.
Graft won the 2014 state doubles title with Nick Waldeck. Last year, he and Kamron Akrami finished as runners-up in the state doubles tournament.
“It’s not really surprising,” Lancaster said of Graft and Cameron. “I like their chances, but things can happen in tennis.”