Auburn University quarterback Cam Newton is one of the top players in college football and a leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy.
But another Cam Newton is making noise in girls high school tennis in Missouri. Newton, a freshman at Ladue, advanced to the Class 2 semifinals with partner Annie Kopp with a pair of wins Friday at the Cooper Tennis Complex in Springfield.
"So many people have kidded me about having the same name as the quarterback," Newton said. "A friend of the family's daughter goes to Auburn, and she has talked about it. I am not a huge football fan, but I know he is good and I like him because of his name."
Newton has been more than good in her first two days of the state tournament. She won both of her singles matches and her doubles match Thursday in the team competition as the Rams came up just short of defending their Class 2 title, falling to Rock Bridge 5-4. Kopp also won a pair of singles matches and her doubles match with Newton against Rock Bridge which gave Ladue a 4-3 lead.
"We did our part," Newton said. "We were upset after losing such a close match. It makes us even more pumped up to win individually."
Ironically, a Rock Bridge team, Kay Fischer and Sophi Farid, will be the Rams opponent in the semifinals this morning at 9.
"Winning state would make the pain of yesterday a lot less," Kopp said. "We are using that as motivation."
It was an overall outstanding day for Ladue in the first day of the individual tournament. Lindsey Whitehead, who was in the loaded top quarter of the draw, won a pair of exciting matches to advance to the Class 2 singles semifinals.
Whitehead came back from a 6-1, 5-4 deficit to defeat Kelsey Kinderknecht of Rock Bridge 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 in the first round. That avenged a loss to Kinderknecht in the team tournament Wednesday. Whitehead then defeated Suzanne Barth of Park Hill 6-2, 6-3 in the quarterfinals. Barth finished second at state in singles last year.
Whitehead will face Timberland's Savannah Drew in one Class 2 semifinal. Drew, a junior, is a three-time state qualifer. She assured herself of her first state medal with a pair of straight set wins Friday. Drew lost just five total games in the two matches.
St. Joseph's Academy advanced its doubles team to the semifinals. Sophomores Grace Hyde and Taylor Revling won two straight set matches and will meet Liberty's Abigail Fish and Kelsey Heuer in the semifinals.
It could be an all-St. Louis Class 2 doubles final, and if so it will be the rubber match. Hyde and Revling and Newton and Kopp have split a pair of matches this season. The Ladue duo won in straight sets in the Parkway Doubles Tournament while the Angels won a three-set match in the district championship.
Area players put themselves in position for what could be all-St. Louis finals in singles and doubles in Class 1.
Defending champion Sydney Lehman of John Burroughs and Katherine Desloge of MICDS each lost just one game in their two matches in Class 1 singles Friday. Lehman will face Taylor Little of College Heights in one semifinal while Desloge plays Breanna Feemster of Hillcrest.
Westminster Christian Academy's Christine Schlafly and Lauren DeRousse defeated Visitation Academy's Jocelyn Koester and Briana Menolascino in last year's Class 1 doubles championship.
Schlafly and DeRousse are back to defend their title and looked very good Friday losing just two games in their two matches. They play Kate Sims and Alena Frye of Barstow in one semifinal.
Koester is paired this year with Sami Hornbarger. The Vivette duo won a pair of straight set matches and will face Bridget O'Connor and Michelle Nogalski of Notre Dame de Sion in the other semifinal.
The championship matches in both classes are scheduled for 1 p.m.