A great role model, and a champion player
When dark clouds gather on the horizon, Jordan Friedland takes notice.
Of particular interest are extremes: nor´easters, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and tsunamis. So much so that he has written a column called Weather or Not for his hometown newspaper.
"I´ve just been fascinated by weather and nature," he said.
It´s fair to say Friedland stormed through the state singles tennis tournament last month. The Lincoln Academy junior, seeded fifth, laid waste to three higher seeds, including the two 2011 finalists.
For winning the state singles title, Friedland is our Maine Sunday Telegram Player of the Year for boys´ tennis.
"He´s probably one of the greatest kids I´ve ever come across," said Cinda Holbach, who coaches Friedland at the Damariscotta YMCA and at Maine Pines in Brunswick. "He´s always eager to play, there´s a smile on his face. It´s a joy to be on the court with him."
Well, unless you´re the one dealing with his powerful forehand or deceptive one-handed backhand. Friedland won every high school match he played this spring, including a season-opening three-set victory over Sam Leeman of Morse and, in the singles tournament, three-setters over defending champion Patrick Ordway of Waynflete and two-time runner-up Justin Brogan of Falmouth.
In order to reach the semis, Friedland first had to beat No. 4 Tyler Adams of Bonny Eagle. They had been doubles partners at a national youth tournament in Alabama, and Adams had beaten Friedland in USTA action, but Friedland prevailed, 6-3, 6-3.
That set up a match with the top-seeded Ordway, a fellow junior, and Friedland rallied to a 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 victory. In the final set, Friedland trailed 4-3 but managed to break serve.
"That game could have gone either way," he said. "It went to five or six deuces and then I got lucky to get the break point and I got lucky to win the break point. When that happened, the momentum shifted."
The final against Brogan was an up-and-down affair, with a few sprinkles of rain thrown in. In the third set, neither player could hold serve until Friedland did so in the fifth game. He opened a 5-2 lead and held on to win, 6-4, 5-7, 6-3.
"They had been beating me handily the first however many times we played," said Friedland, who started playing tournaments at 12. "I just worked hard (to improve)."
Part of that improvement involved switching from two hands to one on his backhand. The switch felt right, but it remained a weak part of his game for more than a year.
Before settling on tennis, Friedland tried swimming and skiing, also individual sports.
"I like being able to solve things on my own," he said.
Academically, he is a straight-A student who plays piano and competes on the school math team. He also helps Holbach with monthly pizza parties at the local Y and volunteers in a variety of other endeavors.
"He´s just a great role model to kids," Holbach said. "He has a great attitude, he works hard and it´s coming from him. It´s not forced."
Unless, of course, it´s a force of nature.
Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:
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Tyler Adams, Bonny Eagle senior
Fourth seed in the singles tournament who fell in the quarterfinals for the third straight year, 6-3, 6-3 to eventual champion Jordan Friedland. Will continue career at University of Southern Maine. Four-year SMAA record of 50-0 at No. 1 singles.
Justin Brogan, Falmouth sophomore
Runner-up in state singles for the second year in a row, once again extending the champion to three sets. Lost only six games in four matches leading up to the final. Led Falmouth to second straight Class B state title.
Jordan Friedland, Lincoln Academy junior
Fifth seed who beat both of last year´s finalists -- Patrick Ordway and Justin Brogan -- in three sets to win state singles championship. Led Lincoln to unbeaten regular season and regional semifinal berth.
Matt Gilman, Cape Elizabeth junior
Third seed who reached semifinals of singles tournament for second straight year before falling to No. 2 Justin Brogan. Led Cape Elizabeth to regional final of team tournament.
Sam Leeman, Morse junior
Eleventh seed who knocked off No. 6 Tyler Small of Ellsworth in three sets in Round of 16 before falling in quarters to No. 3 Matt Gilman. Led Morse to quarterfinal appearance in Western Class B.
Satchel McCarthy, Cape Elizabeth junior
Ninth seed who defeated No. 8 Brendan McCarthy of Falmouth to reach quarters before being ousted by No. 1 Patrick Ordway. Also earned only point for Cape Elizabeth in 4-1 regional final loss to Falmouth.
Patrick Ordway, Waynflete junior
Defending singles champion who reached semifinals before losing 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 to eventual champ Jordan Friedland. In Class C team tournament, led Waynflete to fifth straight state title.
Isaac Salas, Waynflete freshman
Unseeded in singles tourney, knocked off No. 7 Jordan Doutreleuigne of Oceanside and No. 10 Jesse Butler of Deering to reach quarters before losing to No. 2 Justin Brogan. Helped Waynflete win fifth Class C title in a row.
Coach of the Year
Aaron Landry, Gorham
After winning only two matches in each of his first two years, Landry saw his team post a winning record (7-6) in 2011 before a magical 14-1 season this spring, culminating in a 4-1 victory over Bangor for the first Class A state championship in school history. "When you have better players, you can focus on more of the mental aspect of the game and some of the nuance," Landry said. "Whereas early on, we were just trying to be competitive."