Fleming is CPC tennis champion

Published 9:04 am Thursday, May 3, 2018

Reagan’s tennis team has two phenomenal freshmen. One of them, Caleb Richmond, went undefeated against Central Piedmont Conference competition during the regular season, including a 3-6, 6-1 (10-4) win over Davie’s Ben Fleming on March 26.

The other one, Krishna Kriplani, won CPC player of the year honors. His unbeaten run through the CPC’s regular season included a 7-5, 6-3 win over Fleming on April 18.

Fleming got a second shot at both in the CPC Tournament at Davie on April 26, and the super sophomore flipped the script with all the chips on the table. The third-seeded War Eagle went 3-0 and left with the hardware as the league’s singles champion.

“I felt like I played the best I’ve ever played,” Fleming said after raising his season record to 14-6. Coming in, his only CPC losses were to Richmond and Kriplani.

Raise your hand if you thought Fleming was capable of winning the title as the No. 3 seed. Davie coach Shane Nixon has his hand up.

“I had been telling Ben all year that he was the best player in the CPC, but he had not played with enough passion,” Nixon said. “Today he did. It was the most emotion you’ll get from Fleming, and that was the difference today.”

After receiving a first-round bye, Fleming overwhelmed John Powers of Reynolds 10-2. In the semifinals, Fleming met Richmond, who was the No. 1 player for Reagan’s championship team for about half the season. When Richmond wasn’t the top seed, Kriplani was. Fleming took control early and never looked back in a 10-6 win.

“I don’t think (Richmond) was playing as well as he could have, but it was definitely not easy by any means,” Fleming said.

In the championship match, Fleming made magic happen again, winning 6-3, 5-7 (10-5 tiebreaker) over Kriplani.

“I tried to be more aggressive,” Fleming said. “It was the camaraderie of everybody else on the team that really helped me at the very end when I was exhausted. In practice me and Nixon worked a lot on mental toughness when you split sets to finish it out in the tiebreaker.”

Nixon marveled at Davie’s second singles champion in as many years. Last year Elijah Gregory, who is playing for Guilford College, captured the prize.

“I talked to Ben between sets, telling him this is what we did everyday in practice when we sprinted,” Nixon said. “We were learning to play tired. Who has more guts, the bigger heart? Talk about heart. Coming back after losing to the two Reagan kids earlier in the year and winning the CPC? Winning the championship in a third-set tiebreaker after having played so much tennis that day? Wow. Ben showed he has a huge heart and a ton of guts. I could not be prouder of him.”


The top five finishers earned berths to the Midwest Regional, and two Davie entries fell one win shy.

Senior Parker Froelich went 2-2, including two wins over East Forsyth players and losses to Reynolds and West Forsyth. His record for the season is 14-6.

“Parker was really close to winning the back draw (for fifth place), but West’s No. 1 player hit a groove with his big serve and that proved too much for Parker,” Nixon said. “Those two are headed to colleges that play each other in the conference, so they’ll be seeing a lot of each other after high school.”

The doubles team of senior Ben Marklin and freshman Luke Stillson also went 2-2. They enjoyed wins over West and East, but they suffered narrow losses to Reagan and Reynolds. Their season record is 10-5.

“They had a really good day,” Nixon said.

Freshmen Jack Nixon and Cren Rosenbaum went 0-2 in doubles. They will carry an 11-7 record into the dual team playoffs.

“They had one of those days you’d like to forget,” coach Nixon said. “Nothing went right for them. I told them not to forget this. File this feeling away and let it motivate you to never have it again.”