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Bellevue Tennis Standout Heads to State Tournament

For the first time in more than 25 years, a Bellevue High School tennis player will be competing in the state tournament. Brad Reed, 17, qualified by becoming a finalist in the 10th Region Championship. The junior gave up only three games en route to the final, where he lost in a competitive match to the number one seed, Campbell County’s Anderson McDowell.
 
At 5' 11" and 185 lbs., Reed is built more like a football player - in fact, he’s had a standing invite from Bellevue’s football and basketball coaches to play on their teams. But Reed chose tennis.
 
“I just love the sport and I want to get better,” Reed said.
 
Brad is following in the footsteps of his father, Chris, who played tennis for Northern Kentucky University and has been working with Brad since he was a toddler.
 
“It was his decision, but I’m really glad Brad chose tennis,” Reed said.
 
Since deciding to focus on tennis, Reed has been working with some of the area’s top coaches - and traveling all over Greater Cincinnati to improve his game.
 
“Brad is a great athlete with such power on the tennis court,” said Kara Molony-Hussey, Director of Tennis at Summit Hills Country Club in Crestview Hills. “He makes my job fun to teach kids like him who just want to soak up everything about the sport and get better.”
 
“Brad is one of the hardest workers in our program,” said Alan Aure, Tennis Director at Queen City Racquet & Fitness Club in Sharonville. "He’s highly coachable, very approachable, and tries to implement what we say to him in respect to his game.”
 
Reed says he has also been learning from his fellow players, working out with some of the area’s best including Princeton High School’s Emily Thomas and St. Xavier’s Ronit Hiryur, both nationally-ranked junior players.
 
“It really helped me see what they do so I know what to focus on to improve my game,” Reed said. “I also saw their attitude - they’re never negative.”
 
Reed also has learned about sportsmanship. In a game known for producing plenty of “brats”, Reed has a reputation for being a class act.
 
“Brad is a very honest player,” said Jeffrey Schenk, Highlands High School’s number one player who lost to Reed during the regular season. Schenk also qualified for the state tournament, winning the 10th Region doubles title with partner Peter Laskey. Schenk will be playing for Thomas More College next year. “Brad always makes sure to be humble and wish you good luck whether he wins or loses,” Schenk said.
 
“I was raised to treat others how I want to be treated,” said Reed. His mother is an Army veteran and sheriff’s deputy and always preaches discipline. “I want to be treated with respect,” Reed said.
 
Reed says he’s also learned a thing or two from his idol, Roger Federer. He’s copied Federer’s one-hand backhand, a rare stroke for a high school junior. Reed also has developed one of the strongest serves in the region, including a 120 MPH first serve, nearly as fast as Federer. After several seasons of hard work, Reed’s serve and backhand served him well at regionals.
 
“I surprised myself by seeing how much I’ve gotten better,” Reed said.
 
The state tournament begins Thursday in Lexington. If Reed wins a match at state, it will be the first time for a Bellevue player in nearly half a century. From the 1940s through 1970s, Bellevue produced one of the state’s top programs, winning at least six state titles in singles and doubles and making the finals at least a dozen other times. Since the early 2000s, the school has struggled to field a full roster. Reed hopes his win will change that.
 
“It’d be great for our team to grow,” he said.
 
Story & photos by Steve Oldfield, RCN contributor