Cousins to lead War Eagle tennis team
Published 9:02 am Thursday, February 24, 2022
Graduation took, on average, 4.6 individual (singles and doubles) wins a match from the Davie boys tennis team last year. When you consider that five is the magic number, the losses of three seniors who won over 200 matches combined in four years could have some wondering if this is a rebuilding year for the War Eagles.
Eighth-year coach Shane Nixon says maybe, but maybe not. He doesn’t have a concrete plan for making up what the team lost from those three seniors, but he likes what he sees so far.
Of course, any conversation about Davie tennis right now starts with Burke Rosenbaum.
“Burke is a wonderful player,” Nixon said. “He’s got great hands, he moves around the court fluidly and he makes the game looks simple. But it may be his competitiveness that is his best asset. He hates to lose.”
Rosenbaum has yet to lose in CPC play and has only lost twice total, one in the second round of last year’s regional. He is the defending CPC singles champ.
Keeping it all in the family, Rosenbaum’s cousin, C Crenshaw, will likely hold down Davie’s two seed.
“C is a shot maker,” Nixon said. “And he hits big-time shots. He is our emotional leader as well. C is fun to watch play tennis.”
Crenshaw will join his cousin and the two will play doubles at the one seed.
When speaking about the lineup from there, Nixon says, “There may not be anyone who was worked harder to get better than Bryce Bailey. Bryce is so much better than he was last year. He’ll be hard to beat in our league this year.
“Jack Williams is a junior and has gotten much better, too. I think he can win enough matches to help us as a team this year.”
Nixon smiles when he talks about his other “family affair.”
“The Hill brothers, senior Seth and freshman Zach, are going to have to really contribute this year,” he said. “They look enough alike to be brothers, but the similarities end there – their playing styles are very different. We’ll need both to play well for us to reach our goals.”
Freshmen Grayson Busse and Hayden Key may also contribute immediately, and junior Aiden Froelich should help provide some depth as well. Slade Keaton will be the 10th man.
The only bad news out of the tryout portion of the season was the loss, probably for the season, of senior Cooper Smith to a shoulder injury on the first day.
“Coop is my guy and I hate this for him,” Nixon said. “He would have really helped us in the middle of our lineup and we will miss his competitiveness. But as I’ve come to expect, he handled it in stride. He’ll still be a huge part of what we do.”
With a 10-man roster that is heavy on underclassmen, including three freshmen, the rebuild might in fact be underway. Nixon isn’t looking for moral victories, though. He’s got his sights set on familiar territory.
“I think we can give ourselves a chance to win – I really do,” he said. “The CPC has gotten much better and not just with the addition of Mt. Tabor. West is really improved. Reynolds always has good players, and Reagan is always tough.”
Nixon thinks the keys for his team are simple.
“Some guys down the lineup are going to have to be more consistent, and our top players are going to have very little room for error,” he said. “But I’ve got confidence in these guys. Don’t be surprised if at the end of the season, we are right there, challenging teams for a CPC crown. I’d be disappointed if anyone expected anything less. I surely don’t.”
The War Eagles open the season with a trip to CPC rival Reynolds on Feb. 28.