The Transylvania Times -

By Jeremiah Reed
Sports Editor 

Joseph Schrader Wins 2A Individual State Title – Brevard NC

 

Champion Brevard High School junior Joseph Schrader won his first 2A individual state title this weekend in Cary, N.C. Schrader, who came in runner-up in the state finals the past two seasons, completed an undefeated season in singles play, dispatching his final opponent 6-7, 6-1, 6-2. (Courtesy photo)

For Brevard High School's Joseph Schrader the third time proved to be the charm.

After being the runner-up the past two years in the 2A state individual tennis tournament, the junior capped off a brilliant year of play and took the crown for himself, rallying to win two straight sets after dropping the opener.

"This feeling is awesome," Schrader said. "It feels better than I thought it would to finally get over the hump."

Although Schrader entered Saturday's championship match against Newton-Conover's Ryen Reid with an undefeated record and considered the favorite to win, he said the memories of those past two years in the title match lingered in his mind and kept him from performing his best in the first set.

"I know I went into the match really nervous because I was thinking, 'I'm back at this stage again and I really don't want to mess this up.' So I was going into the match with the wrong mindset," he said.

Schrader said Reid came out hot in the first set and controlled the match early on. Schrader still had a chance to take the opener, with the serve and a 6-5 advantage, but said he tightened up and eventually lost on the tiebreaker 6-7.

After the first set loss, Schrader said he took a long break to regroup mentally, knowing he would have to win the next two sets to earn the championship.

Whatever he did worked, as Schrader rebounded to display the dominant form he has all season, taking the next two sets 6-1, 6-2 for the title.

Adjusting mentally wasn't the only change in approach he took mid-match.

Schrader said he began picking up on his opponents' tendencies and changed his game to take advantage of scoring opportunties.

"I definitely settled into the match as it went on. I also realized he was taking all of my flat serves – my really hard serves – and just blocking them. So I started mixing it up more and giving him two spin serves and then a flat serve and he started missing more returns," he said.

"I started finding my rhythm on pretty much all my shots. I started missing less, he started missing more and my serve got better," Schrader added.

While Saturday's match was indeed a test of nerves, competition-wise Schrader is used to playing against top-tier opponents.

He travels all over the Southeast, and occasionally the nation, playing in highly competitive tournaments against top players.

Schrader said having played in those major tournaments against a higher-class of opponents than are typically seen at the high school level not only helps improve his skill level, but gives him an added edge in confidence.

"Those tournaments are usally a higher level of play than high school. So coming into the the high school championships it gives me confidence knowing that I can play at that higher level," he said.

Joseph Schrader claimed the 2A individual men's singles title Saturday afternoon after winning the three-set championship final 6-7, 6-1, 6-2. Schrader finished his junior season undefeated in singles play. (File photo by Jeremiah Reed)

Schrader's work may be done on the individual side, but there is still the chance for him to bring even more championship hardware to the Blue Devils' trophy case as the boys' tennis team competes in the third round of the dual team playoffs against Shelby today.

If they win that match, they will move on to play Wednesday in the regional round for the right to make an appearance in the finals for the third straight year.

As the team's anchor at the number one position, Schrader will hope to lead the team to a third straight appearance in the dual team state finals.

Schrader said the team has looked in top form lately and likes their odds.

"I think our team is looking really good lately," he said. "Everybody has been working hard and everybody from top to bottom has been stepping up.

"I'm feeling really confident that we're going to finish strong and get over the hump in the team final," Schrader added.

 
 

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