In one year Northridge High School senior Josh Brown went from unseeded to unstoppable – so far – in the Division II boys sectional tennis tournament.
Brown claimed the No. 1 seed entering Tuesday’s first day of the two-day tournament and held serve. He won three matches at Troy’s Community Park to secure a spot in next week’s D-II district tournament in Mason.
But before that happens, Brown returns to Community Park for the sectional semifinals and finals starting at 9 a.m. Saturday. The final matches determine the all-important seeding for the district tournament. A sectional championship means facing a fourth-place finisher from another sectional.
“I’m definitely going to be feeling a lot better going into Saturday after my performance today,” said Brown, who won all three matches in straight sets and dropped just two games. “I’m feeling like I’m going to play my best tennis out there. Maybe even win. There’s still a lot to play for. It feels good right now, but once Saturday comes it’s right back to the grind and try to win again.”
Brown plays No. 3-seeded Forrest Rowe, a senior from Yellow Springs. Second-seeded Andrew Conover, a senior from Greenon, plays third-seeded Reilly Smith, a senior from Northwestern. The winners meet for the sectional title.
In doubles action at Troy High School, Milton-Union qualified both its doubles teams to the district tournament. The top-seeded team of juniors Nathan and Nick Brumbaugh cruised into the finals with a pair of straight set wins. They play Tippecanoe’s third-seeded team of senior Colin Achterberg and sophomore Christopher Nichols in the semifinals.
Tipp’s unseeded team of senior Levi Berning and David Shininger upset the No. 2-seeded team from Northwestern to reach the semifinals. They play Milton’s fourth-seeded team of senior Jake Swafford and junior Peyton Brown.
Josh Brown, who received a first-round bye, beat Northwestern junior Luke Macy 6-0, 6-1 in the second round. He beat Urbana freshman Zach Hoskins 6-0, 6-0 in the third round. With a district berth up for grabs, Brown topped Greenon junior Matthew Barton 6-0, 6-1 to qualify for Saturday’s semifinals.
“No, especially with my last opponent I did not expect the scores to be that way,” Brown said. “I thought it would be a lot closer. That just proves you never know what can happen.”
The district tournament is Thursday and Saturday at the ATP Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason. Brown qualified last season and faced the eventual state champion in the first round.
“I don’t know what to expect. The goal is to win one match at district and go from there,” Brown said.
Brown, 20-3 this season, said most of his improvement came through daily practice often on his own and sometimes with Northridge No. 2 singles player Travis Royalty.
“I had more confidence going into this year. I practiced a lot for it,” Brown said. “Just hard work and a lot of practice. I had to prove (I was worthy of the top seed) and I did. … The top seed gave me a lot of confidence coming in. But it also put a target on my back for everybody to try and beat me. … I’m definitely going to try and pull through and get that first seed out of Troy.”