OMAHA — Freshman Alex Bigsby broke a dry spell for the Fremont High boys tennis team Thursday at the 2017 State Tennis Tournament at Koch Tennis Center.
Bigsby went into the tournament seeded sixth in No. 1 Singles and after a first-round bye he split his next two matches and will play on Day 2 with a chance at a medal.
The last time the Tigers advanced to the second day was in 2006 when Blake Helget and Andy Sajevic advanced at No. 2 Doubles.
Bigsby defeated Tan Phan of Lincoln North Star 6-0, 7-5 in the second round to advance to the quarterfinals. There he lost to No. 3 seed 3 Connor Vandewege of Lincoln East 6-0, 6-1.
Following a 6-0 win over Phan in the first set, Bigsby found himself down 2-5 in the second before making a run and winning the next five.
“Phan played much more consistent and got Alex a little frustrated in the second set. Credit to Alex though; he found a way to calm down and battle back,” FHS coach Justin Bigsby said. “Unfortunately, his next opponent was on his A game from the start and really had Alex running side to side. (Vandewege) can dictate points well, and he did so today.”
At No. 2 Singles, Fremont’s Austin Callahan entered as the No. 11 seed and cruised to a 6-3, 6-2 win over Chris Penas-Hull of Lincoln High in the first round. In the second round, Callahan dropped a 6-3, 6-1 decision to Noah Sadiq of Papillion-La Vista.
“He played aggressive and dominated the match from start to finish at the net, which is where he wanted to be,” Bigsby said of Callahan’s win. “Unfortunately, the same tactic didn’t work as well in the next round. Sadiq made some good adjustments and we didn’t counter as well. But that doesn’t take away from the great season that Austin put together.”
In doubles action, Brennan Callahan and Justin Pemberton split matches at No. 1 doubles and at No. 2 doubles Jacob Friedrich and Drew Walling lost their only match of the day.
Brennan Callahan and Pemberton defeated Jacob Meyer and Justin Sacks of Lincoln Northeast 3-6, 6-0, 7-6 (7-1) before falling 6-0, 6-0 to No. 2 seed Duncan Works and Nick O’Shea of Lincoln Southeast in the second round.
Friedrich and Walling lost 6-3, 6-1 to Jacob Burlingame and Jacob Mallow of Bellevue East in the opening round.
“Brennan and Justin played one of their best matches of the season as a doubles team in coming from behind to beat Lincoln Northeast. They got off to a slow start but stuck with their plan and got better as the match went on,” Bigsby said. “And the third set tiebreaker was just good tennis for them. It was exciting to see them get that win and contribute to our team standing.
“Jacob and Drew played hard and gave some great effort; they were simply beaten by a team that played better doubles today. I’m disappointed for them, but especially Drew, as you always want to see a senior get a win at State in his final season. But they fought hard and competed to the very end, which is all a coach can ask of a team.”
Alex Bigsby will battle No. 7 Samuel Faulk of Millard North for a spot in the fifth/sixth place match. That battle will begin at 9 Friday morning with the fifth/sixth place match to follow.