It has come full circle for Oakwood High School senior Sam Lahmon.
As a freshman, Lahmon paired up with then Lumberjacks senior Walker Berwald for the sectional tennis tournament and advanced to the district tournament. Now, Lahmon, No. 1 singles player will share the court with Oakwood’s only freshman, Jake Schairbaum, as the Division II sectional tournament gets underway at Centerville High School.
“Back then, I was the short, little kid who hit hard,” Lahmon said, smiling.
Now, it’s 18-year-old Lahmon who, at 5-foot-11, towers over his partner.
“I’m a lot smaller than the other guys,” the 5-foot-3 freshman said. “Some people still think I’m an 8th grader.”
But what Schairbaum, 15, lacks in size, he makes up for in skill.
“The improvement that Jake has made over the course of the season has been incredible,” Oakwood coach Kim Gilbert said. “He is our best doubles player, he knows positioning and he moves his feet well.”
His new partner agrees.
“He’s good at the net and he gets everything back,” Lahmon said. “He has good hustle and covers the court well. We’ve really clicked.”
The Jacks doubles duo pulled off an impressive come-from-behind win in the state team tournament in their first outing, topping Wyoming 0-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4.
“We had never played together – not even in practice – and they were definitely good,” Schairbaum said. “Normally, I would feel demoralized losing a set 0-6, but I really felt like we could come back and win.”
And they did.
The Jacks head into the D-II sectional tournament as the second seed, behind the Miami Valley School’s Amin Ahmed and Reece Quigley, both seniors. Lahmon is in the hunt for a fourth trip to the district tournament.
But, win or lose, it’s the character and camaraderie of the senior-laden squad of Lahmon, Ryan Clark, Michael O’Hara and Logan Connally that has made this season one to remember for Gilbert.
“The way these seniors have embraced Jake, it just makes my heart soar,” she said. “And when I see the connections they’ve made, the improvement and the fact that they never give up – these kids have already made my season.”
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