By Nathan Hutchinson
Register Sports Editor
Three Madison County standouts will begin their quest for a championship when the 2013 KHSAA State Tennis Tournament gets under way today in Lexington.
Model’s Gus Benson and Berea’s Sam Jackson and Steven Gadd are set to compete in the boys singles competition.
All three players also qualified for the state meet last year.
Benson is the No. 5 seed in the tournament. The junior won the 11th Region title last week, easily beating Ryan Takeda of Henry Clay in the title match.
In four matches at the regional, Benson lost just 10 games.
The Model junior has been to the state tournament in each of the past two years. He picked up two wins last year before falling to Lexington Catholic’s Zack Lewis and in 2011 he also earned two victories before being knocked out of the tournament.
Benson is scheduled to play Jake Estep of Lawrence County at 9:15 p.m. at Shillito Park.
Gadd defeated Jackson two weeks ago in the championship match of the 12th Region Tournament at EKU.
Gadd and Jackson rolled through the field, losing just eight total games on their way to the finals. Gadd lost the first set, but stormed back for a three-set win, 3-6, 6-1, 10-5.
Led by Gadd and Jackson, the Pirates won their second-straight 12th Region title.
Last weekend, Berea lost in the first round of the state team tournament, 3-0, to Covington Catholic in Lexington.
Gadd and Jackson both lost in the opening round of last year’s state tournament. Gadd fell to Alex Gornet of St. Xavier, 6-0, 6-2, while Jackson lost to Robert Albrecht of LCA, 6-1, 6-1.
Jackson also qualified for the state meet in 2010 and also lost in the first round.
Gadd will take on Will True of Bowling Green at 9:15 a.m. at Shillito Park.
Jackson is set to take on Logan McKinney of Lone Oak at 8 a.m. today at Shillito Park.
If Benson, Jackson or Gadd wins their first-round match, they will play again later in the day at Shillito Park.