Entering this season, Osage's Thomas Uhl considered himself a longshot for making the state singles tournament. "I really didn't think I'd make it because I'm only a sophomore," Uhl said. That changed after a regular season victory over Helias Catholic's Nick Kroeger, a strong state contender himself. "I thought I had a chance to make it after beating him," Uhl said. And he was right. Uhl is headed for Springfield this weekend to compete in the Class 1 state singles tournament, held May 25-26 at Cooper Tennis Complex.


Entering this season, Osage's Thomas Uhl considered himself a longshot for making the state singles tournament.

"I really didn't think I'd make it because I'm only a sophomore," Uhl said.

That changed after a regular season victory over Helias Catholic's Nick Kroeger, a strong state contender himself.

"I thought I had a chance to make it after beating him," Uhl said.

And he was right. Uhl is headed for Springfield this weekend to compete in the Class 1 state singles tournament, held May 25-26 at Cooper Tennis Complex.

Uhl qualified after beating Fulton's Scott Strough in the Class 1, Sectional 4 tournament on May 14. Kroeger made it out of sectionals to state as well.

Uhl is following in the steps of former Osage players Will Gross (2010) and Jake Hader (2011), who were also state qualifiers.

Last year, Uhl played No. 3 for Osage behind Gross and Hader.

Gross graduated and Hader elected to not play for Osage this spring and instead concentrate on USTA tournaments as he prepares to play at Missouri Valley College. Uhl was then moved up to the No. 1 slot.

Uhl often has a physical advantage over his opponents with his 6-foot-3 stature and athleticism.

"I guess I'm a baseline-to-baseline guy. I also like coming up to the net, too... My serve is a lot better (than freshman year). I think my overhand has improved, too."

Uhl and longtime friend Adam Keith helped the Indians reach their district title match for the second straight season. Osage lost to Marshall this year after beating Helias Catholic in 2011.

Keith plays No. 2 for Osage.

"I've known (Keith) my whole life," Uhl said. "We've played in USTA tournaments together. It's great having him as a teammate."

Uhl has added to a family legacy. His sister Ashley made the state doubles tournament in 2009 with Abby Naudet.

"I'd say I'm the better player now," he joked of the brother-sister matchup.

As for his expectations, Uhl said: "I'd just like to get one win."

MSHSAA has yet to release the field for the Class 1 state singles tournament online.