By KEVIN HARRIS
Entering the 2011 season, Jordy Rigsby had some big shoes to fill.
The Jeffersonville boys’ tennis player, who was a junior at the time, was replacing one of the best Red Devil tennis players ever at No. 1 singles in Patrick Elliott, who is currently playing on the Ball State men’s tennis team.
But during his two seasons as Elliott’s replacement, Rigsby filled the former Jeff standout’s shoes quite nicely.
“In my junior year, it was hard to fill his shoes,” Rigsby said. “But in my senior year, I got more comfortable and tried to do better.”
This season as a senior, Rigsby was not only the best player on his team, he was the best player in the Clark-Floyd area. Following a 22-7 singles record in 2012, Rigsby has been named the News and Tribune Area Player of the Year.
Rigsby was stunned when he found out he earned the honor.
“It’s a big honor,” Rigsby said. “I thought I did well during the season, but I did not expect to be named the Player of the Year.”
Rigsby was named the Red Devils’ most valuable player for the second year in a row. He made the all-Hoosier Hills Conference team, was an honorable-mention selection on the Indiana High School Tennis Coaches Association All-State team, and participated on the Southeast squad in the Indiana High School Boys’ Tennis All-Star event on Oct. 27.
Jeff coach Mark Reilly thinks Rigsby is definitely worthy of being the 2012 Area Player of the Year.
“He’s very deserving,” Reilly said. “He was undefeated against all the area players he faced, and he had some good wins outside the area. It was an excellent season for him. From his freshman year to his senior year, he made some great strides.”
Rigsby’s biggest individual accomplishment during the season was winning the Floyd Central individual singles sectional title. He achieved that feat on Oct. 5 with a 6-1, 6-0 victory in the sectional championship match against New Albany senior Kyle Landrum.
“Personally, it was a big honor for me,” Rigsby said. “I thought I would go further in regionals, but it was quite an honor to win sectional.”
Rigsby came up one match short of reaching the IHSAA individual singles finals. After defeating Columbus East’s Seth Meyers in the semifinals of the Bedford North Lawrence individual regional on Oct. 13, Rigsby suffered a 7-5, 6-0 setback to Evansville Central freshman Jared Hamilton in the regional final.
“In that match, I didn’t play as well as I did at sectional,” Rigsby said. “I didn’t play that well and he was a good player.”
Rigsby helped the Red Devils have a rewarding season as a team. He led Jeff to its first HHC Tournament title since 2009 and its sixth consecutive Jeff Sectional championship. During his high school career, Rigsby was a part of four sectional championships, two regional crowns, one semi-state title and a state finals appearance in 2010.
“I just wanted to help out my team and help with their progression in the future,” Rigsby said about this year’s success.
Reilly thought Rigsby did a solid job of leading the Red Devils in 2012.
“He’s really a pretty quiet guy,” Reilly said. “But in his senior year, he started taking command of the huddle. He’d tell jokes and helped people relax.”
Rigsby plans on continuing his tennis career in college. He has drawn interest from IUPUI and the University of Southern Indiana, which is coached by former Jeff tennis standout Chris Crawford.
Reilly believes if Rigsby continues to work hard and improve, he can persevere at the college level.
“The more time he puts in, then I think he’ll have more good days than average days,” Reilly said.
ALL-AREA TENNIS TEAM
Jordy Rigsby, Jeffersonville
Kyle Landrum, New Albany
Chris Braun, Charlestown
Alex Martin/Drew Hussung, Floyd Central
Chase Kayrouz/Justin Padgett, Jeffersonville
Alex Martin, Floyd Central
Justin Batliner, Floyd Central
Austin Hunt, Jeffersonville
Will Andres/Weston Spalding, Providence
Jack Reilly/Jack Coward, Jeffersonville
Jake Steele, Silver Creek
Ryan Plunkett, Floyd Central
Arvind Dhanaphal, New Albany
Brett Medley/Ryan Zirnheld, New Albany
Nick Sprinkle/Anthony Less, Silver Creek
Singles: Josh Vollstedt, Borden; Brock Winchell, Jeffersonville; Nolan Carrico, Providence; Brennan Thompson, Silver Creek; Andrew Eckert, Silver Creek; Alec Bates, New Albany.
Doubles: Isaac Corum/Braden McCartney, Silver Creek; Andrew Nguyen/Codie Endris, Floyd Central; Kyle Jackson/Zach Gibson, Charlestown; Jake Kennard/Tanner Goller, New Albany; Travis McKim/Wesley Naper, New Washington.
Coach of the Year: Rick Miller, Floyd Central