Tennis team has eyes on CPC title

Published 8:29 am Thursday, March 11, 2021

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Davie boys tennis was in position to have its greatest year ever.  With a powerhouse lineup that included a conference champ playing all the way down the lineup at four or five, many including coach Shane Nixon thought the sky might be the limit.

On March 13, the team was 6-0, having easily handled five teams and, most importantly, having vanquished two-time CPC champion Reagan that day. Then COVID shut the season down and it never got going again. Disappointing for sure, but also, Nixon now says, motivating.

“I think our guys, the ones coming back, see this as unfinished business from last year,” Nixon said. “I think they still want to prove something. I think they want to say the best is yet to be, instead of never was.”

The team returns five of the top six. It is anchored by a senior class that, without the pandemic, might already be the winningest in program history. Seniors Jack Nixon (the coach’s son), Cren Rosenbaum and Luke Stillson are the core of this year’s team.

“Jack, Cren and Luke are just winners,” he said. “Each has been a regional qualifier, they’ve got three All-CPC honors between them (three more if it weren’t for COVID). The team record since they’ve been a part is remarkable. Beyond tennis, they are all in the top 30 or so of the senior class. Between them, they hold class offices, star in school plays and perform in other sports. Cren has been so sacrificial for our program.  Luke has improved more than anyone since his freshman year. Jack, well, I say it all the time, he’s my favorite player I’ve ever coached. In the middle of the order is junior C Crenshaw.  C also has an All-CPC award under his belt. He is as good a shot-maker as there is in the CPC.”

Nixon has a couple of other underclassmen who will compete for the six spot and could challenge the others if they continue to improve. Seth Hill, Bryce Bailey and Cooper Smith are all viable options.

But the ace in the hole for Davie is super soph Burke Rosenbaum. Nixon beams when he speaks of his young star.

“Burke has incredible hands, great command of his strokes and is so consistent. But the thing I like most is his competitiveness.  Burke loves to win. That will get you a long way with Coach Nixon. I like to win too.”

How far this team can go will depend on many factors.  They’ll need to figure out their doubles pairings and get consistent wins in a couple of those spots. It will need to stay healthy, which is even harder in the pandemic. But Nixon thinks it might can be as good as people thought it could be last year.

“Don’t get me wrong,” he said. “We miss those guys who graduated. Heck, there was a college player (Ben Fleming) in that group.  But these first few days of practice have been really good.”

Nixon thinks his team is dialed in; he thinks they are focused.  He says they practice like they have something to prove.

The War Eagles open on the road against CPC power Reynolds on March 15.