When dark clouds gather on the horizon, Jordan Friedland takes notice.
Of particular interest are extremes: nor’easters, hurricanes, tornados, 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: