RALEIGH — The next time Wakefield High sophomore Blaine “Bo” Boyden loses a high school singles tennis match will be his first.
Technically, he took one loss during his freshman season when Coach Ken Stewart pulled him off the court because Boyden was battling cramps.
“Coaching error,” Stewart termed it Wednesday after Boyden posted his typical 6-0, 6-0 victory in the Cap Eight 4A championships at Millbrook Exchange Park, sweeping second-seeded Nishanth Shah of Enloe.
But other than that one default, Boyden was unbeaten in singles last year and is 16-0 in singles this season. His league tournament title was more coronation than selection.
“He has clearly dominated the league,” said Broughton coach Bill White.
Boyden said he played well, serving effectively, hitting accurately and pounding his ground strokes.
Wakefield’s Stewart said he hesitated to use the term, but said the best description of Boyden is “throw back.”
“Tennis has become so much a power game,” Stewart said. “Bo probably is the most powerful player in the league, but doesn’t try to kill everything. He always makes the right shot. He understands what he is trying to do. He wears you down. He is just a technician.
“He is the best player and may play the hardest.”
A year ago, Boyden played doubles with classmate Jensen Martin in the state tournament, and they reached the semifinal. This year, Boyden decided to pursue the singles championship.
“I think I have a chance,” he said. “The states is going to come down to who is playing well that day.”
The Cap Eight matches between Wakefield, Broughton and Millbrook came down to the best of the day, too. Each split regular-season matches with the other two.
“It’s been nerve-wracking, but fun,” said Millbrook coach Scott Wofford. “Every time we’ve played each other there have been surprises. The teams are so evenly matched.”
All three teams are expected to play in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A state dual-team championships that begin Tuesday. A drawing gave Millbrook the league’s top seed into the tournament and Wakefield the No. 2. Broughton, which is 19-2 overall, is expected to be added to the bracket as a wild card team.
“I knew we were in trouble when it came down to a drawing,” White said. “I’m terrible at drawing. That’s why I refuse to play cards.”
Millbrook’s Chris Mahan, who teamed with John Karlawish to win the conference doubles title over Wildcat teammates Logan Weber and Austin Cobb, said the competition has kept the teams sharp.
“Wakefield, Broughton, Millbrook. Millbrook, Wakefield, Broughton,” Mahan said. “We’ve all had some tough matches.”