Individual State Tournament Participants
Class A/AA Boys Singles
Jackson Lenoir, Arts & Sciences
Class A/AA Boys Doubles
Ian Derthick and Raymond Kim, Arts & Sciences
Forrest Hooten and Adam Wolfe, Signal Mountain
Class A/AA Girls Singles
Taylor Johnson, East Hamilton
Class A/AA Girls Doubles
Emily Brown and Taylor Eades, Boyd-Buchanan
Ellie Henry and Hannah Henry, Chattanooga Christian
Class AAA Boys Singles
Alex Klibisz, Cleveland
Class AAA Boys Doubles
Zach Madewell and Nick McWherter, Rhea County
Division II-A Girls Singles
Sadie Shackelford, St. Andrew's-Sewanee
Division II-AA Boys Singles
Anderson Scarpa, Baylor
Division II-AA Boys Doubles
Bobby Brouner and Daniel Pare, McCallie
Marko Mandic and Eric Roddy, Baylor
Bo Brynteson and Jackson Pride, Baylor
Division II-AA Girls Singles
Michelle Fleenor, GPS
Samantha Caswell, Baylor
Danielle Simms, GPS
Division II-AA Girls Doubles
Harper Caswell and Mary Walker Mixon, Baylor
Maggie Crumbliss and McCall Morgan, Baylor
Emma McCallie and Hannah Morrow, GPS
Brighton Goodhue and Mary Claire Spann, GPS
Throughout the course of the 2012 tennis season, Cleveland's Alex Klibisz used the element of surprise against some opponents that might not have remembered him the last time he played a match for the Raider tennis program.
Two years is a pretty long time.
Klibisz was able to claim the District 5-AAA and Region 3-AAA individual titles, qualifying for state in the process. He has a tough road ahead, however, as he will face two-time defending Class AAA champion Sean Karl of Ravenwood in the state quarterfinals of the Spring Fling tournament Thursday at Old Fort.
After playing No. 3 singles as a freshman and No. 2 as a sophomore at Cleveland, the senior spent the 2010-2011 school year participating in the Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange Program, which sent him to Germany for 13 months.
"It was extremely beneficial," he said. "I got to experience a whole new part of the world and was able to learn the German language. I can now speak German fluently, but I was also fortunate to meet a lot of people, and those friendships can last a lifetime.
"It was definitely my most memorable year of high school."
After his sophomore season, Klibisz worked on his game some, and with the help of retired coach Charlie Smith -- who coached two-time winner of the Rotary and three-time state champion and former Vanderbilt standout Eddie Coates at Bradley Central -- changed his stroke.
"I wasn't training as much as some of the top players were, because I didn't want tennis to take away from the year abroad," Klibisz said. "When I got back, there might have been some advantages in that people hadn't seen me, but I don't think that made much of a difference.
"The biggest difference is the coaching I got from coach Smith and doing a lot of conditioning with the coaches at Cleveland."
Klibisz has suffered only one loss this season -- to Arts & Sciences's Jackson Lenoir -- and admits that at times, this year, he's "surprised himself in how well he's played." He made the state tournament his goal at the beginning of the year, and will realize that goal when he faces off against Karl on Thursday.
"I saw him play at the Tennessee State Qualifier two years ago, and it was like his regular shots were just as good as my best shot," Klibisz said. "I do realize that this could be the end, but I'm pretty relaxed because all of the pressure's on him. I've already exceeded my expectations, and anything from this point on makes the season even better.
"I'm where I want to be [in the state tournament], and although it'll be difficult for sure, I hope to be as relaxed then as I am now."