The Hernando senior succeeds in singles play despite a lack of training.
By FRANK PASTOR
Published March 31, 2004
BROOKSVILLE - Brent Lowman doesn't even like singles play.
There are few things the Hernando senior enjoys less than exchanging groundstrokes from the baseline with players who take lessons and practice year-round.
That makes him an interesting choice for the Leopards' No. 1 singles position.
"I hate singles," Lowman said. "There's more court in doubles. I don't have to do all the work from the baseline. I'm at the net more in doubles. I don't get lessons, so I don't really have fundamentals."
Not that anyone would notice. Through Tuesday, Lowman had won six of 10 matches, including decisions over Wesley Chapel's Tomas Houba and Zephyrhills' Suneal Bedi, and is expected to earn one of the top two seeds for next month's district tournament.
"He's not going to be beaten easily unless you're at that much better of a level of tennis than he is," coach Brett Teitelman said. "If you're close, he'll hang in there and fight you."
Lowman fought his way through the lineup the past three seasons, but a heavy academic workload last year limited his singles play. He specialized in doubles and won a district championship with Drew Taylor.
Lowman, a district champ at No. 3 a year ago, inherited the No. 1 singles mantle after Eric Frechette graduated.
"I knew I'd be playing some pretty tough players," Lowman said. "Some of those matches, not district matches but some of the bigger schools like Mount Dora, it's kind of ugly sometimes.
"Every school's got one player that has a dad for a pro or is getting lessons year-round," he said. "This school is not like that. We're just all athletes that pick up a tennis racquet."
Lowman plays basketball and ran cross country for the first time this fall as a tribute to friend and former cross-country runner Zak Lukas, who died in a watercraft accident in 2002.
The 6-foot-4 Lowman makes up for his lack of training with size, athleticism and quickness, to say nothing of tenacity. He dropped a set to Houba and trailed 5-2 in the second before rallying to win in what Teitelman called "the gutsiest performance we've had."
"He got into a funk in the beginning of the match as far as not playing to his ability and making errors and just being out of it," Teitelman said.
"What struck me was the fact that he was able to change himself, bear down, make some better shots, make better shot selections, play a little smarter game and actually improve himself in a quick manner."
Lowman has been even steadier in doubles, teaming with Daniel Widboom to win five of six matches. A loss to perennial power Mount Dora their only blemish, the duo hopes to advance to state.
"They may not be the best No. 1s in the conference," Teitelman said, "but in doubles I think they can compete with any team in the area."
For all of his success on the court, academics come first for Lowman, whose 4.4 weighted grade-point average ranks second in a class of 250. He attends Pasco-Hernando Community College full time and plans to study business administration at Florida before enrolling in law school.
All of which leaves little time for tennis.
"I don't have much time to get hours on the court," Lowman said. "I played twice this summer and then didn't play for about six months, and then I picked it up about three days before practice."
- Frank Pastor can be reached at 800 333-7505, ext. 1430. Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org