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.
Sergent didn't play on court No. 8 Friday in the state tournament but did in the regional. He started playing tennis with his grandfather at age 4.
“He had a tennis court on his farm and we would always go out there and play,” he said.
CLASSEN TENNIS COACH A FAN OF ROWING
Classen SAS coach Ron Mims wishes all of his tennis players would start rowing. He's seen the difference it's made in his No. 2 singles player, sophomore Tyler Dang.
Dang, who won both of his matches Friday at the Oklahoma City Tennis Center, is in contention for the Class 4A title after finishing third as a freshman.
Dang also is a member of the Chesapeake Junior Rowing crew in Oklahoma City, competing in regattas across the country.
Mims said Dang's upper body strength has increased since he began rowing.
“Tyler plays with a lot of power now,” Mims said.
Dang said it's difficult sometimes juggling the time demands for rowing, tennis and the stringent academic requirements at Classen SAS. He maintains a 4.0 grade-point average and participates in the International Baccalaureate program.
“I find ways to rush back and forth,” he said. “I enjoy both of them equally, which is why I still try to do both.
“I think rowing has helped me become a better athlete. Now, I don't really feel tired after a (tennis) match. Rowing has definitely helped me with that.”
BEING LATE COST TAHLEQUAH
Tahlequah's bus was 25 minutes late for the first round games Friday at the Oklahoma City Tennis Center.
The Tigers' bus driver got lost, and they had to forfeit their three first round matches.