LEXINGTON, Ky. – Behind the aggressiveness of Drew Singerman and the strength and size of Matt Graft and Preston Cameron, the St. Xavier High School tennis team completed an impressive sweep of the state titles Saturday.
Singerman, a junior, defeated sophomore teammate Alex Wesbrooks 6-2, 7-5 to take the singles title and Graft and Cameron defeated Trinity’s Trey Akmon and Tommy McConville 6-1, 7-6 (7-4) to win the doubles crown in the Republic Bank/KHSAA State Championships at the University of Kentucky’s Boone/Downing Tennis Center.
The Tigers already had won their eighth straight team championship last Sunday, and Saturday’s singles and doubles crowns gave them the title trifecta for the second time in three years.
“We didn’t do it last year, but we came back and did it this year,” Singerman said. “We just fight harder than other teams and work harder than other teams … and we got the right side of the ball on this one.”
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Singerman became the third straight St. X player to capture the singles crown, following back-to-back winner Brandon Lancaster. Singerman lost to Lancaster 6-2, 6-2 in last year’s final.
St. X coach Kerry Lancaster, Brandon’s father, said Singerman was a stronger player this season.
“He’s a little more fit, and his ball is a little bit heavier,” Kerry Lancaster said. “I think that really bothered Alex, especially in the first part of the match.”
Singerman cruised past Ashland Blazer’s Robby Krick 6-0, 6-2 in Saturday morning’s semifinals and looked to be on his way to another rout in the final against Wesbrooks after winning the first set and taking a 5-0 lead in the second.
But Wesbrooks, who transferred to St. X from Texas last summer, won five straight games to even the second set.
“I got ahead of myself, but I’m not going to blame it all on that,” Singerman said. “Alex picked up his game. I felt like I was still playing well even though he got five games in a row. I have to give him credit for fighting back.”
Singerman broke Wesbrooks’ serve for a 6-5 lead and then served out the match to clinch the state title.
Wesbrooks credited Singerman’s aggressiveness.
“It’s his lack of unforced errors, and yet he’s still super aggressive and offensive with his shots,” Wesbrooks said. “He doesn’t miss, and you’re on the run every single point.”
The doubles final was much the same, as Graft and Cameron cruised in the first set before surviving a second-set tiebreaker.
Graft was in the doubles final for the third straight year, having won the crown with Nick Waldeck in 2014 before losing in last year’s final with Kamron Akrami.
“I didn’t worry about that loss last year affecting me now, but it makes it a little better that I won my last match in high school,” said Graft, an Xavier University signee.
The 6-foot-3 Graft and 6-5 Cameron, a sophomore, formed an imposing duo and lost their serve just once the entire tournament.
“We both have big serves and good volleys, so that’s the main thing we try to do when we play,” Cameron said.
Kerry Lancaster called Graft “a great doubles player” and said it wasn’t unusual for him to reach three straight state finals with three different partners.
Lancaster said Graft and Cameron were a perfect mix.
“(Cameron’s) got a really mean streak in him, which I like about him,” Lancaster said. “He can get nasty, but he’s so positive. And Matt can get really negative. That makes for a good combination between the two of them.”
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
REPUBLIC BANK/KHSAA STATE TENNIS SINGLES AND DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIPS
Saturday’s results at University of Kentucky’s Boone/Downing Tennis Center
Drew Singerman (St. Xavier) def. Robby Krick (Ashland Blazer), 6-0, 6-2
Alex Wesbrooks (St. Xavier) def. Caleb Buckman (Owensboro Catholic), 6-2, 6-4
Singerman def. Wesbrooks, 6-2, 7-5
Trey Akmon/Tommy McConville (Trinity) def. Spencer Blandford/Patrick Koshewa (St. Xavier), 2-6, 7-5, 10-7
Preston Cameron/Matt Graft (St. Xavier) def. Brandon Chou/Sam Rueff (Trinity), 6-0, 6-4
Cameron/Graft def. Akmon/McConville, 6-1, 7-6 (7-4)
Drew Singerman (St. Xavier), Matt Halpin (Paul Dunbar), Robert Krick (Ashland Blazer), Cameron Mount (South Oldham), Caleb Buckman (Owensboro Catholic), Choopat Suvimolstean (Oneida Baptist), Bryce Shelton (Paul Dunbar), Alex Wesbrooks (St. Xavier), Spencer Blandford (St. Xavier), Patrick Koshewa (St. Xavier), Brandon Chou (Trinity), Sam Rueff (Trinity), Trey Akmon (Trinity), Tommy McConville (Trinity), Matt Graft (St. Xavier), Preston Cameron (St. Xavier), Tommy Hagan (McCracken County), Logan McKinney (McCracken County), Matt Eastham (Russell), Alex Nguyen (Russell), Adam Slone (Lexington Christian), Keifer Mays (Henry Clay), Alex Dubilier (Henry Clay).