By Rick Morwick
Trey Thixton remembers hitting tennis balls with his parents and grandparents around age 4. A few years later, he began taking lessons.
By age 12, he was playing in — and winning — USTA Junior Tournaments.
“I enjoy the individual aspect of it and the focus it requires,” said Thixton, the No. 1 player on the Center Grove High School boys tennis team. “You can’t take any breaks during the match or you’ll lose quick.”
A senior standout, Thixton hasn’t lost many matches during his four-year varsity career. A second team All-State selection last season, he is again one of the state’s top players and is a major reason why the fifth-ranked Trojans are poised to reach the state finals for the first time since 2014.
“You might say that he has a lot of tools in the toolbox,” Trojans’ coach Ivan Smith said. “Trey’s biggest strength is that he is a well-rounded player in that he is comfortable winning points from the baseline or the net.
“By having multiple ways in which he can create and win points makes him a difficult person to play (against).”
That wasn’t always the case with Thixton, who played No. 2 singles his freshman season and won only a handful of matches. But the experience paid off the following season, when he earned the No. 1 singles position as a sophomore, won nine matches against a schedule stacked with top-ranked opponents and has been one of the state’s top players ever since.
“I feel like his biggest improvement has been his ability to find a way to win when he is not playing at the top of his game,” Smith said. “Several times this season, he has had to change his strategy or reset emotions to win matches.”
Winning is Thixton’s objective each match, for himself and for his team. The Trojans recently won their second straight regional championship and bidding to reach the Oct. 12-13 state finals.
Thixton is confident they will get there.
“The season has gone great this year,” he said. “Our strengths would most likely be our aggression and our overall balance in our team positions.”
Thixton plans to continue his tennis career in college. He plans to major in business, economics or statistics and his still mulling his college options.
For the present, however, his focus is on the Trojans’ season and their bid to reach the state finals.
“Everyone’s confidence right now is pretty high,” Thixton said. “We finished the regular season with a really good record and (are) playing well. Our team goal is to get to state and advance as far as we can.”
Smith, too, is confident the Trojans are poised for a deep postseason run. Having Thixton at the No. 1 position is a big reason why.
“His presence at the top of our lineup allows us to have a person that can compete against the best state,” Smith said. “With him at No. 1, it increases our overall depth.”
THE THIXTON FILE
NAME: Trey Thixton
No. 1 singles
Four-year varsity player
Playing pool, golf and being outside
FAVORITE MOVIE: Step Brothers
FAVORITE TV SHOW: “Impractical Jokers”
Plans to play in college and study business or economics; is still mulling options
Jeff and Amy Thixton