It wasn’t Alex Swick’s first solo flight but it might have been his most memorable one.
The Lima Central Catholic senior — a three-time state tennis tournament qualifier in doubles — won the Division II sectional singles championship on Saturday at the University of Northwestern Ohio.
Swick and John Kidd were Division II state runner-up in doubles last year and in 2011 and he and Brandon French reached the first round of the state tournament three years ago.
Swick’s victory made him the first LCC tennis player to win 100 matches in his career.
“That was huge today. It was kind of personal,” he said. “That’s very hard to do because you definitely have to go deep into the state tournament consistently to get to play 100 matches, let alone win them.
“I would have kicked myself if I hadn’t made it to 100,” he said.
Swick defeated Ottawa-Glandorf’s Alex Schroeder 6-0, 6-1 in the championship match. In the semifinals, Swick won 6-1, 6-1 over Shawnee’s Avinash Rajesekaran and Schroeder won 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 over Celina’s Alex Seibel after falling behind 4-1 in the third set.
Swick jumped out to a 5-0 start in the first set of the championship match and set the tone early.
“He played really, really well. I didn’t think I played that bad, he just played really well,” said Schroeder, the Western Buckeye League champion at No. 1 singles.
Swick said playing singles this year has required some adjustments.
“It’s very different. In doubles it’s more of a perfection game. In doubles if you slice one ball, your partner is going to get tagged at the net. In singles you can slice it more and set up the shot,” he said.
“The shots are all there but the biggest thing is changing your mentality. I played points like a doubles player and it was very obvious I was not a singles player. But I’ve been playing two or three times a day this week and it’s really starting to come together.”
Shawnee’s Avinasah Rajesekaran took third place in singles with a 7-6, 7-5 win over Seibel.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles qualified for this week’s district tournament at Bowling Green on Thursday and Saturday. The top three singles players and doubles teams at the district will qualify for the state tournament.
In doubles, Shawnee’s Jason Barton and Josh Thomas won the championship 6-3, 6-2 over Celina’s Isaac Elston and Kris Lejeune 6-3, 6-2. In the third place match, Celina’s Aaron Seibel and Keaton Mohler won 6-1, 6-2 over St. Marys’ Cole Brooks and Jason Freewalt.
A week earlier on the UNOH courts, Barton was runner-up to Schroeder at No. 1 singles in the WBL meet and Thomas and Scott Jettinghoff were runner-up to Elston and Lejeune at No. 1 doubles.
Thomas called Saturday’s turnaround a little “revenge” for the WBL tournament. Barton said, “It feels good. We did win overall (as a team in the WBL tournament). But it was just nice to move on.”