Although his primary aim is for his team to repeat as state champion, senior Maxx Lipman hopes to tack on some individual honors as well.
Brentwood High’s ace, may be the best tennis player in the state not to have reached a state tournament in any of his three high school years. That’s something he hopes to change when the march to Murfreesboro begins with this week’s district tournaments. The 11-AAA tournament takes place at Franklin Rec Center.
“We have had a really good season so far, and I think we have a good chance to repeat [as Class AAA champions],” Lipman said Tuesday. “We’ve done really well, we’ve only lost once, that coming to a really good MBA team last week [a 6-1 setback in a match where Lipman scored the only point]. Overall, I think we’re ready to make a strong push for winning state.”
Brentwood actually has won the state title two of the previous three years (2010 and 2012). It was runner-up in 2011.
Lipman is ranked among the country’s top 20 junior players.
As an eighth-grader at Battle Ground Academy, Lipman made the Division II singles state tournament. He got to the semifinals before he lost in three sets to eventual champion Brandon Fickey of Knox Webb.
He transferred to Brentwood High his freshman year. That spring, he wasn’t eligible to play because of the transfer rule and then missed his sophomore year because he was injured.
Last year, as a junior, Ravenwood’s Sean Karl, a good friend, eliminated him in the Region 6-AAA finals. Only the region champion qualifies for state, and Karl won his third straight individual championship.
Although both are seniors, there won’t be a rematch this year.
Karl has undergone treatment for cancer and is being home-schooled.
Lipman could meet Karl’s younger brother, Steven, a sophomore at Ravenwood and a nationally ranked 16-and-under player, in the district tournament. In a dual match Wednesday, Lipman beat the younger Karl 6-0, 6-1.
Lipman, whose older brother is a junior at Vanderbilt, has signed to play at Florida. He chose the Gators over Vanderbilt, Georgia and Southern Cal.
“I just felt right at home with [Florida’s] coaches, and I feel like they have the ability to help me take my game to the next level,” he said.
Asked about the possibility he could play against his brother in college, Lipman smiled and said, “Not likely. He has played No. 1 singles most of the year, and I think at No. 3 once. Maybe in doubles.
“Tennis is a big part of his life, and he has overcome some injuries, as I have. I’m very proud of him.”
In the meantime, Lipman is trying to finish out his high school career with a championship. Make that two.
• CPA moves on: The chances that Christ Presbyterian Academy wins a third straight Class AA boys basketball championship took a hit with Jalen’s Lindsey’s announcement last week he was headed to Huntington (W.V.) Prep School. The 6-foot-7 elite college prospect was the MVP of the state tournament and Class AA Mr. Basketball in the recently completed season.
“Obviously, it’s a great loss for us, but we wish Jalen nothing but the best,” coach Drew Maddux said Thursday. “I love the young man, not just for his basketball skills but how he has developed as a young man. We will certainly miss him.”
CPA will still have a formidable team that includes Division I prospects like Braxton Bonds, Jake Allsmiller and Braxton Blackwell. All three will be seniors.
“There was a mixture of happiness for [Lindsey] and also sadness in that he won’t be spending his senior year with them and walking across the graduation stage together,” Maddux said. “We are happy for Jalen in what God has called him to do, and he has our full support as he takes his next step for his development in basketball.”
Without Lindsey, Maddux didn’t back off from his ambitious schedule next season. It includes a trip to the Marshall County (Ky.) tournament, the Findley Prep tourney in Las Vegas, a premier tournament in Ft. Myers (Fla.), a return trip to the Arby’s Classic and a Feb. 1 clash at top-ranked Kentucky power Louisville Ballard.
• First to third: Lipscomb Academy started Monday, the final day of the District 10-AA baseball race, at 7-0 and in first place ahead of Hume-Fogg (7-1) and Christ Presbyterian Academy (6-1).
At the end of the day and after a 2-1, eight-inning loss at CPA, the Mustangs (14-9 overall) had fallen all the way to third.
They lost both coin flips needed to break a three-way tie. CPA got the top seed and Hume-Fogg was slotted No. 2.
Lipscomb’s John Bolton and CPA’s Brandon Jean engaged in a superb pitching duel. The Mustangs led 1-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh but the Lions tied it on Carson Shrode’s RBI single.
Houston Nichols’ bases-loaded squeeze bunt in the bottom of the eighth ended the contest. Nichols was mobbed by jubilant teammates, who poured out of the dugout in celebration.
In Thursday’s tournament openers, CPA hosts Whites Creek, Hume-Fogg meets Stratford, Lipscomb entertains Maplewood, and MLK takes on East Nashville. Those winners advance to the final four next week at Rose Park and Shelby Park.