High School Sports

LexCath's Maddox wins second straight girls' tennis title

Lexington Catholic's Samantha Maddox beat Louisville Christian's Ellie Gerlach in the finals Saturday at UK.
Lexington Catholic's Samantha Maddox beat Louisville Christian's Ellie Gerlach in the finals Saturday at UK.

When she started her career as a freshman, Lexington Catholic senior Samantha Maddox never guessed she'd leave with two KHSAA State Tennis Tournament championships.

But with a 6-0, 6-3 win over Ellie Gerlach of Louisville Christian on Saturday, she did just that.

Maddox bounded from a long three-set semifinal match earlier in the day against Maddie Cook of Notre Dame to beat Gerlach and wrap up a sensational high school career.

"It's unreal," Maddox said. "I was just happy each year to keep on building and get to state. As soon as I knew I could get there, I had an extra drive. I knew I wanted to win."

Maddox's championship caps off what could be the most successful career of any Lexington Catholic tennis player.

She reached the state championship match all four years and became the first girl in school history to win the state championship with her title last year.

The two losses she suffered in the title match as a freshman and sophomore were the only two matches she lost in her entire career.

She is signed to play tennis next fall at the College of Charleston.

Coach Ann Tramontin Bruggeman said Maddox's final match marks the "end of an era."

"There's not a better way to celebrate the success of a kid with a state championship two years in a row," said Tramontin Bruggeman, who's coached at Lexington Catholic for 14 years. "I've always said that I don't think there was a tougher athlete at Lexington Catholic than Samantha Maddox. She showed it for four years. She's one of the best athletes I've ever coached."

No one has more pressure in a tournament than the No. 1 seed, but Maddox said she simply didn't want to relinquish the title that she worked so hard for last year.

"It was just a really hard struggle because everyone's gunning for you," she said. "I just worked as hard as I could, stayed patient, and just kept my cool.

"I was really upset the first two years, losing to the same girl. I really wanted to win all four years, so I was really driven to win again."

Maddox wasn't the only Lexington Catholic player who was competing for a state title on Saturday, though.

Junior Zack Lewis, now a singles player, was also looking to win his second state championship after taking the doubles title last year.

Lewis' run came up short when he lost 6-3, 7-5 to Alex Gornet of St. Xavier in the semifinal round.

But Tramontin Bruggeman said Lewis' past success in doubles and recent run in singles, along with Maddox's dominance, has allowed Lexington Catholic to make a statement to other teams.

"Lexington Catholic has always had strong tennis, but this puts us on the mark of schools that can compete for the tennis state tournament," she said. "It's great for the school and great for the city of Lexington to have kids out representing the town in the state finals."

Gornet eventually fell to Beck Pennington of Greenwood 6-4, 1-6, 4-2 after he retired because of an injury.

The St. Xavier doubles team of Sean Donohue and Joe Siami took home the boys' doubles title with a 6-1, 5-7, 6-3 win over top-seeded Alek Rowton and Ethan Rowton of Paducah Tilghman.

Ninth-seeded Katherine English and Caitlin Hanley of Sacred Heart defeated third-seeded Kaelin Roberts and Ashley Williams, also of Sacred Heart, 7-6, 7-6 for the girls' doubles title.

St. Xavier took home the boys' team title with a 3-0 win over Corbin, and Assumption defeated Lone Oak 3-1 to win the girls' title.

Both Maddox and Lewis were named to the All-State team.