In her first year playing high school tennis, Bloomfield's Felicity Graf is undefeated (10-0) at No. 1 singles for the Lady Cardinals.
Photo by Shad Cox
I’ll begin this column with a rhetorical question: Is there anything Bloomfield’s Felicity Graf can’t do?
OK, maybe she’s not quite ready to perform brain surgery.
And she probably can’t dunk a basketball (she’s generously listed at 5-7.)
But she did average 11 points, four steals, three rebounds, and three assists for this year’s Lady Cardinals Class A basketball sectional champions.
In addition, Felicity was named to the Hoosier Basketball Coaches Association All-District 1 basketball team and the Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association Academic All-State team (her grade-point average is 4.2.)
She also received honorable mention for the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association Small School All-State team.
On the volleyball court the senior setter owned every Bloomfield career assist record. Felicity finished the 2016 season with 645 assists and 2,248 for her career. In addition, Graf was nearly perfect at the service line, serving at a 98.9 percent clip.
On the softball diamond, Graf was a slick-fielding outfielder who hit at the top of the batting order.
"Felicity Graf is a phenomenal athlete," former Bloomfield softball coach Nicole Fougerousse said prior to the 2015 season.
"She will probably play center field for us because she just covers so much ground and has a cannon for an arm. Felicity has a lot of power at the plate too. And she's a little quick thing.”
She was all of that in softball - until this year that is.
This spring, Graf eschewed softball and decided to go out for tennis.
And in her first year of varsity tennis for the Lady Cardinals, Felicity Graf is undefeated at No. 1 singles (her season record in matches was 10-0 as of this writing.)
Allow me to reiterate: In her first year of varsity tennis, Felicity Graf is undefeated at No. 1 singles.
This is no small feat, stepping into Mike Canty’s historically successful Bloomfield tennis program for the first time - as a senior - into the top spot in the lineup - and winning every match she’s played so far.
And it isn’t just her first year of varsity tennis at the No. 1 singles spot. It’s her first year playing high school tennis, period.
She didn’t get her feet wet playing No. 2 doubles as a freshman, or playing junior varsity singles.
Nope, she just dug her tennis racket out of the closet. And she’s beaten all comers.
According to Canty, Graf attended his summer tennis camps when she was in fourth and fifth grade. But she hadn’t played for her school’s tennis teams until this spring.
“She just said she wanted to try playing this year,” Canty said.
And her first foray into high school tennis has certainly turned out better than even Canty could have hoped for.
“It’s unreal that she’s unbeaten,” the Hall of Fame veteran coach of 23 campaigns said.
The coach attributes Graf’s success on the hardcourts this year to her smarts, guile and steady play.
“She is just so smart on the court,” Canty said. “The thing she does best is keep the ball in play.”
In other words, she doesn’t beat herself. And her opponents haven’t beaten her either.
And it’s not as if those opponents are patsies.
The Lady Cardinals have won five of the last six sectionals. Accordingly, Bloomfield plays a tough schedule in preparation for postseason play.
And other than matches against perennial small-school power Loogootee and big-school Bedford North Lawrence, all of Graf’s wins have been 6-0, 6-0 or 6-0, 6-1.
Graf beat Loogootee’s Melaina Tippery in a super tie break 6-3, 5-7, 1-0 (3). At Bedford Felicity remained undefeated by beating Hope Martin 6-3, 6-4 to raise her singles record to 8-0.
“That’s amazing,” Canty said.
Canty is left to wonder what might have been had Felicity Graf played high school tennis all four years.
“Just think of what we would have looked like with her in the lineup the past three years,” he imagined. “And she has improved tremendously since the beginning of the season.”
A long time ago Jimmy Buffett sang about a Brand New Country Star.
Well, Bloomfield has a Brand New Tennis Star.
And that brain surgery thing? I wouldn’t put anything past Felicity Graf.
NOTE: Graf finished the season 20-1, losing 6-3, 6-0 to Paoli's Megan Dooley in the individual sectional singles final last May.