High school tennis: Top tennis player ran cross country to train

Edmond North senior Nate Roper said, “I wasn't varsity material by any means,” but running helped him get in shape for tennis.
by Ed Godfrey Published: May 10, 2013
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photo - Edmond North's Nate Roper plays against Stillwater's Noah Smith during the 6A Boy's State Tennis Tournament at the OKC Tennis Club in Oklahoma City, OK, Friday, May 10, 2013,  By Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman
Edmond North's Nate Roper plays against Stillwater's Noah Smith during the 6A Boy's State Tennis Tournament at the OKC Tennis Club in Oklahoma City, OK, Friday, May 10, 2013, By Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman

Senior Nate Roper of Edmond North, the defending state champion at No. 1 singles in Class 6A, also ran cross country for the Huskies his sophomore and junior seasons.

“I wasn't varsity material by any means,” Roper said.

Roper ran cross country just to get in better shape for tennis.

RIVERFIELD'S CLARK A BIG FAVORITE

Zeke Clark, a freshman at Riverfield Country Day in southwest Tulsa, is a heavy favorite to win the No. 1 singles in Class 4A.

His father and coach, Toby Clark, was the Division III NCAA No. 1 singles champion in 1985 and 1987, playing for Principia College of Elsah, Ill.

Clark won both his matches Friday and didn't lose a set. Riverfield was started by Toby Clark's parents in 1985.

CHARGERS' TOP PLAYER OVERCOMES CRAMPS

Heritage Hall's No. 1 singles player, Nick Harvey-Funches, battled with severe thigh cramps Friday, but rallied to defeat a higher seed, Micah Cash from Tulsa Washington, 4-6, 6-1, 6-1, in the quarterfinals.

Harvey-Funches had to take an injury timeout in the third set because the cramps were so bad.

“I started battling cramps in the second set, and I was cramping in the third,” he said. “I wouldn't have been able to play had not my trainer came out.”

CLASSEN PLAYER FOLLOWS IN GRANDFATHER'S FOOTSTEPS

Court No. 8 at the Oklahoma City Tennis Center is named in honor of Lanny Anderson, the grandfather of Classen's No. 1 singles player Jonathan Sergent.

Anderson, who died in February at age 77, is a two-time high school state champion from Wewoka. He played both tennis and basketball at the University of Oklahoma.


by Ed Godfrey
Reporter Sr.
Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more...
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