FREMONT, Neb. — Alex Bigsby hopes Saturday’s win can propel him going forward.
The Fremont senior went 4-0 on the day, capturing the No. 1 singles title with an 8-5 victory over Lincoln Southeast’s Graham Peterson at the Fremont Invitational.
“Before today, I wasn’t feeling too confident about my game. This was a hard week, having to practice indoors (because of rain),” Bigsby said. “But I think I came out today and proved myself and I think the biggest thing that helped me was my backhand. Lately it’s been inconsistent, but today I was able to dial in and kind of find it.”
Peterson normally plays doubles — he was fourth at state at No. 1 doubles last season. But with No. 1 singles starter Jackson Miller nursing an injury, Petersen slid over to singles Saturday.
He stayed close throughout the final match, cutting it to 7-5 when he broke Bigsby’s serve for the first time. But Bigsby answered right back, breaking Peterson at love. He ended the match with a backhand winner at the net.
Bigsby improved to 9-2, with his only losses coming against two-time defending state champion Ethan Neil of Papillion-La Vista. Bigsby finished fifth last year, and he and Neil are the only top-seven state finishers at No. 1 singles who returned this fall.
“I’m actually really excited,” Bigsby said of his chances at state. “I had some close matches with Ethan last year. This year, the first two (against Neil) have been a little rocky, but I look forward to state.”
Though spring and summer events were limited by COVID-19, Bigsby was able to play some tournaments and thinks his game has improved since last fall.
“I think my first serve has become a weapon now,” he said. “I can use it and push my opponent to the limit with it.”
Bigsby hopes to play tennis collegiately. He wants to make campus visits before hopefully deciding by January.
Omaha Westside won the title at the nine-team tournament, finishing with 45 points. Freshman AJ Shefsky won No. 2 singles to lead the Warriors.
Lincoln Southeast was second with 41 points while Norfolk (38) edged Elkhorn Mount Michael (37) for third. Mount Michael, playing without No. 1 singles player Isaac Gart, who was taking the ACT, had the winners at No. 1 doubles in Will Mallisee and Ethan Pentel.
Millard South’s Carter Eastridge and Talik Runge won the No. 2 doubles title.
Team scoring: Omaha Westside 45, Lincoln Southeast 41, Norfolk 38, Elkhorn Mount Michael 37, Fremont 31, Gretna 26, Millard South 26, Bellevue East 18, Columbus 8.
Individual standings: No. 1 singles: 1, Alex Bigsby, F. 2, Graham Peterson, LSE. 3, Clark Rue, OW. No. 2 singles: 1, AJ Shefsky, OW. 2, Shane Miller, F. 3, Kalen Krohn, N. No. 1 doubles: 1, Will Mallisee-Ethan Pentel, EMM. 2, Jake Bonnett-Alex Kugler, OW. 3, Joshua Sumner-Chase Carter. No. 2 doubles: 1, Carter Eastridge-Talik Runge, MS. 2, Colin Eich-Erik Kaps, EMM. 3, Cooper Woods-Sam Weyeneth, LSE.
The Nebraska 100: Our greatest athletes
The Nebraska 100, originally selected in 2005 and then updated and re-ranked in 2015, came from a pool of nearly 500 names from the ranks of high school, college, amateur and professional sports from the past 140 years. Assistance came from a panel of veteran sports observers from across the state, with the newspaper's sports staff determining the final rankings.