Christian Roddy doesn't quite know why he likes tennis, but he definitely loves to be out on the court.
The junior for the Bexley High School boys team has moved up from first doubles as a freshman to second singles last season to first singles this spring. Despite facing the best players opponents have to offer in every match, he has made a smooth transition by going 12-2 before the Lions played Pickerington North on May 8.
"Why do I like tennis? That's a tough one. I never really thought about it," Roddy said. "I love tennis. You don't get broken down from the sport like you can with soccer. You can be tired, but not too bad. I've been playing since I was 7, and I just love it.
"I played about four times a week in clinics and private lessons. I did that all winter after soccer season. Tennis is a sport you can't shy away from. You have to play to stay consistent."
Coach Mark Liefeld said Roddy's athleticism makes him versatile, a quality that is especially important at first singles.
"Christian is a very athletic kid from playing other sports like soccer," said Liefeld, whose team was 9-5 before May 8. "He moves well on the court and he gets to a lot of balls that might be winners against other players.
"That helps in an area that I probably think is the best part about his game and that's his ability to adapt to his opponent. He's good at thinking during a match. He has a variety of shots and a solid serve, but he has a really good touch. He's been able to figure out what works."
Roddy's go-to stroke to win points is a booming forehand that quickly gets to opponents.
"My forehand is my cannon; it's my secret weapon," he said. "My opponents try to stay away from my forehand. They'll try to hit it short because I like hitting the forehand from the baseline.
"I try to stay in position to use the forehand. I run around and hit an inside-out forehand so that way if they hit it to my backhand I'll somehow run around it to hit a forehand."
For the third year in a row, Roddy will play doubles in the Division II postseason. Last season, he teamed with 2017 graduate Josh Meyer, but the pair fell to Columbus Academy's Austin Lawrence and Eric Min 6-2, 6-2 in a state-qualifying match at district.
Roddy will play this spring with junior Leo Schottenstein, who teamed with Mark Nudelman to place fourth at state last season. Nudelman, a senior, did not return to the team this spring.
Roddy and Schottenstein are seeded second in a sectional Thursday, May 10, and Saturday, May 12, at Columbus School for Girls. The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district May 17 at Academy and May 19 at Upper Arlington.
At district, the top two in singles and doubles advance to state May 25 and 26 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
"For me, it's almost impossible to get to state in singles because there are so many good players trying to get out," Roddy said. "Doubles is the way to go.
"There is a lot of communication with your partner when you play doubles. You have to know when to move in, when to stay back and when to charge the net. Playing singles involves a lot of consistency and a lot of variety. There's a lot of volleying."
On May 1, the Lions defeated Logan Elm 4-1 in the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association Division II team tournament. They advanced to play Wellington in the Central/Southeast Region final May 7, with the winner moving on to the state tournament May 27 at Reynoldsburg.
Last year, the Lions won their first Division II OTCA semifinal since 2012 and went on to capture their first state title since 1975, when the event had only one division. They defeated Ottawa Hills 3-1 in a semifinal before beating Gates Mills Hawken 3-2 in the championship match later that day.
"(Winning the OTCA title last season) gives the returning players a huge amount of confidence because we know we're capable of doing something that big," Roddy said. "We surprised people last season and maybe we can do that again."
Postseason to begin for track squads
The boys and girls track and field teams begin the postseason in the Division II, district 2 meet Tuesday, May 15, Wednesday, May 16, and May 19 at Westerville South.
The top four finishers in each event advance to regional May 24 and 26 at Lexington.
The MSL-Ohio Division meet began May 8 and concludes Friday, May 11, at London.
The girls placed second (82 points) in the 14-team Mount Gilead Invitational on May 5 behind the host Indians (119). Molly Fagin won the 3,200 meters (11 minutes, 29.5 seconds) and the 1,600 (5:19.0).
The boys finished third (87) in the 13-team Columbus East Tiger Invitational on May 4 behind Walnut Ridge (113) and Westland (108).
Grant Halliday, Grant Heilman, Miles Feinknopf and Spencer Stevenson won the 3,200 relay (8:30.52). Zander Hirsch won the 800 (2:01.71), Theo Snowdon finished first in the 1,600 (4:58.85) and Sam Warner won the 3,200 (10:37.97).
Baseball team begins postseason
The 13th-seeded baseball team was 9-12 overall before opening the Division II district tournament May 8 at home against 19th-seeded Eastmoor Academy.
The winner plays in a second-round game Thursday, May 10, at third-seeded Jonathan Alder, with that winner advancing to a district semifinal Tuesday, May 15, at a neutral site to be determined against sixth-seeded Hartley or seventh-seeded Buckeye Valley.
The district final is May 17 at a neutral site to be determined.
Bexley split with Worthington Christian last week to finish 5-5 in the MSL-Ohio, behind champion London (8-2). The Lions won 9-6 on April 30 as Wally Jacobs picked up the win, but Bexley lost 8-1 on May 2.
Softball team opens district tournament
The 11th-seeded softball team was 6-9 overall before opening the Division II district tournament May 8 at home against 15th-seeded Licking Valley.
The winner advanced to a second-round game Thursday, May 10, against 14th-seeded London at the home of the better seed. The Lions lost to the Red Raiders 5-4 on April 25 and 14-0 in five innings May 2 in MSL-Ohio play.
The district semifinal is Tuesday, May 15, at a neutral site to be determined against top-seeded Lakewood, 18th-seeded East or 19th-seeded Columbus South, with the winner advancing to a district final May 18 or 19 at Pickerington Central.
Bexley finished 3-5 in the MSL-Ohio, behind co-champions London and Whitehall (both 7-1).
Below are the coming schedules for the Bexley boys lacrosse and girls lacrosse teams:
May 11 -- Home vs. Columbus Academy
May 14 -- At fourth-seeded Granville in second round of Division II, Region 7 tournament. Winner plays fifth-seeded Kettering Alter or 17th-seeded Dayton Chaminade Julienne in third round May 17. The Lions are seeded 12th.
May 11 -- At Hilliard Bradley
May 17 -- At second-seeded Academy in first round of Division II, Region 7 tournament. Winner plays seventh-seeded Watterson or 10th-seeded Big Walnut in second round May 19. The Lions are seeded 13th.