Playing in the shadow of his more heralded teammates in recent years, Jim Shaub is starting to serve up some of his own sunshine.
The lone senior on the Montgomery Bell Academy tennis team, Shaub is looking forward to the final big matches in his high school career. They start today at the prestigious 28th annual Francis Carter tournament on the MBA and Vanderbilt courts.
“I’m very excited about the Carter, it’s always a special tournament, especially so my senior year,’’ said Shaub, who plays No. 5 singles for the Big Red, which was 8-1 heading into Thursday matches with Knox Webb and Lone Oak, Ky.
The tournament is named for the late Francis Carter, MBA’s headmaster in the 1970s, who had a strong interest in tennis.
“I love playing in the team concept, where the guys are all pulling for each other,’’ said Shaub, who is headed to SMU for college. “My high school career has been a great experience, playing with a group of terrific guys, we have great comraderie.’’
’”With our new coach this year, Zac Hood, I hope I’ve helped make his transition easier, we have all really worked hard together.’’
“Jim and all the guys have been so good to work with,’’ said Hood, a 2001 MBA grad who won a Carter title his senior year in doubles, with Chad Fernandez. “We have a young team, very inexperienced, but we’re coming along fast.
“We beat two good teams last week in a Louisville tournament, St. Xavier and a team from Ohio. Our team is starting to peak.’’
Sophomore Naveen Chadalavada, junior Richard Brunsting, freshman Russ Anderson, eighth-grader Palmer Campbell, Shaub and sophomore Jake Hayes, play 1-6 singles for the Big Red.
The 6-1 Shaub has gradually moved up the lineup his varsity years, finally breaking into the top six last year.
“I remember earlier seniors telling us to savor your time while you were playing here, and enjoy your senior year,’’ Shaub said, “I can’t believe how fast it’s gone.’’
Play begins today at 8:30 a.m. at Vanderbilt (A division) and MBA (B division) with first-round singles.
Some of the top teams include defending champ McCallie (with ace David Henry), Baylor, MUS (Watson George ace), St. Xavier, Ky. and Lone Oak, Ky. There are eight teams in both the A and B divisions.
MBA’s last state title came in 2003 in Memphis. Since then, the Big Red has made the final four each year but fallen short. This year, talent-laden McCallie, coached by veteran Eric Voges, is the favorite.