MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - For Arts & Sciences' Jackson Lenoir, the plan is for this state-final appearance to be better than the last.
Lenoir's two victories in the rain-delayed 2011 TSSAA Class A/AA state individual tennis tournament advanced him to today's championship match, where he will face Josh Ward of Madison at 10 a.m. EDT. Lenoir, a soft-spoken 6-foot-6 junior, claimed victories over Middle Tennessee Christian's John Mankin and Signal Mountain's Luke Wolfe.
Notre Dame's John Dorris and Nick Wurm also will play for a state championship after defeating Collegedale Academy's Jordan Evans and Patrick O'Brien in the semifinals of a wild Thursday schedule that included three extended rain delays and matches played at Vanderbilt University as well as the Old Fort courts.
McCallie's Bobby Brouner won twice and will face Memphis University School's Marshall Sharp in the Division II-AA singles final.
Lenoir trailed Wolfe 5-6, 15-40 in the first set but saved three set points and claimed the set in a 7-1 tiebreaker. He then won the second set 6-1.
"I'm just so excited about having the chance to play tomorrow," Lenoir said. "I never pictured myself in a state championship in tennis.
"We kind of blew it in basketball, so that pumps me up even more to try and get the job done this time."
Lenoir was on the CSAS basketball team fell in the Class A state final two seasons ago, before a first-round exit this year.
Notre Dame coach Anne Ricksecker said Dorris and Wurm "were a little sluggish in the first set, but they were better as the match went along. They can't do that tomorrow, though."
Dorris, who won the Class A/AA singles title last year, and Wurm will face defending state champions Cameron Dickerson and Will Sparks of Christian Academy of Knoxville.
In Class AAA, Walker Valley's Ben Watson shook off an awful first set to defeat Columbia's Cardin Pelletier 0-6, 6-2, (13-11) in a super tiebreaker. Watson later lost to 2010 Class AAA champion Sean Karl of Ravenwood.
McMinn's Fenil Patel and Brandon MacDonough also claimed a first-round victory, over Oakland's Connor Shea and James Myers, before falling in the semis.