Wakefield High boys’ tennis coach Ken Stewart said the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 4A individual tennis championships on Friday felt a lot like practice.
He meant no disrespect to the magnitude of the the Wolverines’ dominating performance in the finals. He was just explaining the intensity the club displays in its workouts
Junior ace Bo Boyden dominated Millbrook sophomore Logan Weber to win the singles title 6-1, 6-1 while Wakefield junior Jensen Martin and sophomore Philippe Lauture knocked off senior teammate Andrew Belonga and freshman Nico Grewe for the doubles title, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4.
“They play with that intensity every day in practice,” Stewart said. “It is a remarkable bunch of guys.”
The championship had a familiar feel since the championship matches were repeats of the Cap Eight 4A Conference tournament finals and last week’s NCHSAA Mideast Regional finals. The outcomes were the same, although Boyden, who lost in last year’s NCHSAA championships, had an easier time than he did in his three-set win over Weber in the conference finals.
“I was on top of my game today,” said Boyden, whose sister Susanne, a sophomore, won the NCHSAA 4A singles title last fall. “I wasn’t missing very much.”
Some of the top high school players don’t participate on high school teams, but Boyden said he would be back again next year because he enjoys playing with his teammates. The practices are intense.
“All of the guys are really working hard in practice, trying to improve,” Boyden said. “We go to practice and try to get better.”
Stewart keeps it interesting. The Wolverines’ doubles teams that advanced to the championship finals had rarely played against each other in practice.
Stewart mixes the doubles teams up most days, using all sorts of combinations, including Boyden, who teamed with Middle Creek’s injured Nick Stachowich, the 2013 4A champ, to win the national juniors doubles title.
Once the playoffs started, though, Martin and Lauture established some superiority with the league and regional crowns. For a while on Friday, it looked like Belonga and Grewe might win the most important match, though.
Belonga and Grewe snatched the second set 6-3 and had all the momentum. But Lauture said he and Martin regained their focus during a mandatory 10-minute break before the third set on a 90-degree day.
“Coach Stewart told all of us that whoever had the most energy would win the third set,” Lauture said. “We went out with a lot of energy and build a lead. They came back, but we got our energy back.”
Wakefield, 20-0 in dual matches, now turns its attention to the NCHSAA dual-team tournament. The Wolverines play Green Hope on Tuesday in the third round and might face Millbrook in the semifinals on Thursday.