Southmont’s Adam Cox officially stamped his name as one of the best tennis players in the area this past season. A 19-2 record and a trip to the regional championship, Cox was dominant at the number one singles spot for the Mounties.
If it wasn’t for cramping in the regional final, Cox could have very well been competing in the state finals, but what’s most impressive about Cox isn’t the success he has individually on the tennis court. It’s all about enjoying the experience with his teammates and being the ultimate team-first player.
“I just wanted to go out there and have fun with my friends,” Cox said. “My teammates made this season so much fun for me. My freshman season there was some stress coming in, but I’ve really started to put all of that stress behind me and just enjoy being around my friends and my teammates.”
Combine his success with the love of the game, and it’s easy to see why Cox is the 2021 Journal Review Boys Tennis Player of the Year.
Throughout his run in the individual state tournament, Cox never let the moment get too big for him. He stayed humble, soaking it all in and watching a dream come true.
“I was just blessed to be in the position that I was,” Cox said. “I loved getting to experience the moment with my teammates there supporting me the entire way.”
Southmont coach Nathan Poynter has seen Cox evolve as a player for the past three seasons.
“It’s really hard to look at his season as a whole and not think that he had an amazing year,” Poynter said. “I thought the best thing about this year was that we got to see where he stood at the state level. Sometimes it’s hard to see where you are as a player until you get to where he got. You could see that he is right there with some of the best.”
Playing at the number one singles spot, Cox knows he is going to get every team’s best player. With a 19-2 record, Southmont knew it could rely on Cox to take care of business.
“I just tried to give it my all every single time I was out there,” Cox said. “The pressure now doesn’t faze me of being at one singles. I know at the end of the day that my teammates believe in me and that’s all that matters.”
Over the course of the past three seasons Cox has seen his game just continue to get better and better. Not even Poynter saw this level of play coming from his one singles player quite yet.
“I really think he’s ahead of where I thought he’d be especially at the state level,” Poynter said. “He has a come a long way from where he came in as a freshman. He’s started to find his style of play and become very good at it. I’m very pleased with where he’s at. The best part is he wants to continue to get better, he’s never satisfied with where he’s at.”
His sustained success hasn’t happened by magic. Cox recalls when he first realized that tennis was going to be more than just a hobby; it was going to be a part of his life.
“Our team went undefeated starting in seventh grade,” Cox said. “At that moment, that’s when I knew that this is what I wanted to do, and wanted to succeed at.”
Looking forward, Cox already has his mind made up to return to the regional, but this time not alone.
“I just love them as teammates and as friends,” Cox said. “It’d be really cool for the entire school if we could win the regional as a team, that’s the goal for next year.”
Poynter has seen Cox’s unselfishness play out over time and has watched him grow into the team leader.
“He cares about not just himself, but the entire team winning,” Poynter said. “He wants everyone to win and tries to do everything to make sure that happens. He always puts them in front of his individual success, and that makes it easy for the others to want to follow his leadership.”
For Cox, this season will go down in the record books and Poynter acknowledges the impact Cox has made on the program.
“We’ve only had one other player make the state finals back in the early 80’s,” he said. “He’s making a name for himself not just for Southmont, but for the county as a whole. It’s going to make his competition that he faces next season want to try and knock him off. We’ll fine tune some things and be ready to go again next season.”
There’s no reason not to think Cox couldn’t make another deep post-season run next year. However, the goal for him remains the same, Cox wants to end his senior season with not only him still playing, but his teammates as well.
Only time will tell what lies ahead for Cox, but it sure looks like he’s up for the challenge.
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