Now that Carrboro has its first N.C. High School Athletics Association team championship in tennis, a second is not out of the question.
Making its third straight appearance in the NCHSAA championship finals, Carrboro blanked previously undefeated Brevard 5-0 Saturday in the NCHSAA boys dual-team tennis championships on Saturday at the Burlington Tennis Center.
“It definitely feels good because we’ve been working for this for four years. It’s my first win in states, so it feels good,” said Aaron Hiller, the lone senior among Carrboro’s top six singles players. “After losing twice, we definitely had a lot of motivation today. Our hard work and dedication really helped us pull it out.”
Brevard was third straight undefeated team that Carrboro beat within a week. The Jaguars knocked out Croatan (19-1) in the state quarterfinals and N.C. Science & Math (17-1) in the semifinals. Carrboro finished its semifinal match, played at neutral Durham Jordan High School, at about 5:30 p.m. Friday. By about 11 a.m. Saturday, it was receiving its state championship awards.
“Fortunately, we’re so good (Friday) was a great practice,” Carrboro coach Jon Noyes said.
The final win capped a great season by the Jaguars, who never lost to a 2A school. Their only losses were to NCISAA champion Cary Academy and by a 5-4 score at NCHSAA state 3A semifinalist Chapel Hill.
In the previous two years, Carrboro twice dropped the 2A title match to Shelby in the 2A final, but this season Shelby didn’t make it. This time, the Jaguars (16-2) ended up in the final against Brevard – the team that eliminated Shelby from the 2A tournament -- and handed Brevard (18-1), a school located south of Asheville, its their first loss of the season.
“I guess the third time is the charm,” said Noyes. “Everybody played better and better as the season went along. … The team has earned this. They really have.”
Prior to Saturday, the Blue Devils’ top six players had just one singles loss among them. Joseph Schrader, Cre Still, Joe Roberts, Chris Wilson and Cameron Wilson all entered the finals undefeated.
Carrboro junior Max Fritsch’s 6-2, 6-4 win over Schrader at No. 1 singles clinched the team championship.
“It felt good to be the match that decided it,” Fritsch said. “It feels better this way.”
Sophomore Jake Zinn handed Andy McCall the loss at No. 3, 6-1, 6-2; Hiller defeated Joe Roberts at No. 4, 6-4, 6-1; freshman Jason Wykoff bested Chris Wilson at No. 5, 6-3, 6-1; and junior Tarek Zikry took care of Cameron Wilson at No. 6, 6-3, 6-4.
Carrboro sophomore Brian Freiburghouse was leading at No. 2 when the title was clinched and the match was stopped.
Shortly after the title was decided, Wykoff received the NCHSAA sportsmanship award.
“Jason Wykoff was by far our most improved player this year, and he was the freshman of the year,” Noyes said. “Wykoff gets the award for most awards.”
With just one senior graduating this year, Carrboro will be loaded again at the start of the 2015 spring season.
“Absolutely,” Noyes said. “This is a great group of players. They could be back in the finals another three years.”
All four NCHSAA classifications were decided at the same site, and Triangle teams dominated.
Raleigh Wakefield, the team that bounced East Chapel Hill from the 4A tournament, downed Winston-Salem Reynolds 5-0 for a state championship. Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons, which had ousted Chapel Hill in the state semifinals, defeated Waxhaw Marvin Ridge 6-0 in the 3A final. In the afternoon, Raleigh Charter fell to Kernersville Bishop McGuinness 5-2 in 1A.
Wakefield’s first state title in boys’ tennis capped a three-year program rise that began when Boyden and Martin arrived as freshmen in 2012. Phil Lauture, who won at No. 3 Saturday, was next. Two more top freshmen arrived this year – Carter and Nico Grewe, the latter a 6-0, 6-0 winner at No. 6 against Carter Lievens.
Senior Andrew Belonga, who won at No. 5 Saturday, tumbled from No. 1 singles as a freshman to No. 3 as a sophomore and junior and finally No. 5.
Gibbons senior Robert Kelly, the 3A state singles champion, defeated Marvin Ridge’s George Lovitt in the individual semifinals last week. Kelly beat Lovitt for the team title on Saturday, 6-2, 6-4.
Kelly, bound for the University of North Carolina after finishing the year with a 26-0 record, credited Gibbons coach Andrew Tuttle for the sustained success.
“He does a lot of work motivating us,” Kelly said. “He talks to us about being able to say we’re state champs. Representing Gibbons means a lot to us.”
Raleigh Charter (12-1) won with Birla at No. 2 over Ben Jandzinski, 6-2, 6-0, and Jake Satisky at No. 3 dispatching Jonathan Ingram, 6-4, 6-4.
Bob Sutton of the Burlington Times News contributed to this report