My pick to dominate line 1 singles this year at 4.5 sectionals.
Yes, with the wooden racquet.
So I’m a little afraid to make any bold 4.5 predictions this year after I completely whiffed on it last year. Did anyone see Amarillo and Logan Powell coming? I clearly didn’t. Powell went 13-0 on the year, including 6-0 at nationals, and dropped four 6-1 sets on the competition on Sunday at Nationals. Amarillo finished third after a tight 3-2 loss to Southern in the semis but rebounded to beat Caribbean 4-1 in the 3 v 4 match. Yes, Amarillo had strong doubles but when you can roll out one guy in singles and know that you start the match up 1-0 you have a difference maker that can turn the tide. Omar Naguib went 2-0 at sectionals (1-2 at Nats) but the other two guys went 1-3 and that one win was against Corpus who finished sectionals 0-3 and won only two lines.
Two points and one is obvious: first, Amarillo goes nowhere without Powell; second, Powell and Naguib were diaper dandies compared to what Dallas has been rolling out the past few years. Typically our 18s teams have been the same as our 40s teams for the most part. Not bad for doubles but definitely can leave something lacking in singles by Sunday at Sectionals. Yet Reiman’s squad last year only fell to Amarillo in the Sectionals semis 3-2, pretty respectable considering Amarillo’s third place nationals finish. How does Dallas bridge that gap?
I like Feldman, Mabe and Sumrow (his cities singles lineup) but there’s no Logan Powell in that lineup. Maybe it’s Tristan Stitt. Yes, I saw the insufferably long post about Stitt going to play college tennis. No, that actually doesn’t mean he can’t legitimately play USTA 4.5.
Powell was just named a JUCO All American playing for Tyler Junior College. And before you scoff, they and Collin College routinely win the JUCO national title and it’s often played at our very own Collin College’s home courts if you want to see how the kids bang it. Anyway, elite 4.5 is dominated by college and ex-college players. You can get yours or you can get rolled.
Frankly I’m always surprised that Austin doesn’t win 4.5 18s every year. You could put together a national contender every year in Austin made exclusively of guys who decided not to play college tennis but could have. A friend of mine’s kid won a 5A state title in doubles and is wandering around UT’s campus right now, playing for no one (call me if you’re interested). For that matter, so could Dallas (SMU), Fort Worth (TCU), Waco (Baylor) and College Station (isn’t there some school down there?). In case you didn’t notice it earlier this year, OU made the national finals, Baylor & TCU made the semis and A&M made the quarters. Congrats to Reiman for getting his kid. Too bad he didn’t get three or four.
Nothing wrong with old guys, hell, I’ll be one someday. But if you’re gonna make your mark at 4.5 sectionals singles there’s a pretty good chance you are under 30. Kids aren’t the antidote for everything but when you’re 20, run like a deer and never take a shot off to rest, it’s a whole different game.