It was a night of family affairs in the Big 8 Conference girls tennis tournament championships Wednesday at Orange High.
The singles championship was an all-Northwood final between teammates, while the doubles came down to two teams from regular-season team champ Cedar Ridge.
“It’ll be your turn next year.” Though both players are sophomores, that’s what Faith Peoples told Northwood teammate Sam Sparrow at the end of the singles championship on Wednesday night.
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At the end of the one-day tournament that spanned seven hours, Peoples defeated Sparrow 6-3, 6-3 to win her first conference championship. Sparrow made her second Big 8 championship final in as many years. Sparrow lost in the championship match in 2015 to Chapel Hill’s Hailey Polsky.
“This was just an extension of practice,” said Peoples. “It was just more intense. This was very exciting because it was what I had been working for since I started my freshman year. I wanted to finish my senior year with a bang.”
Peoples, who has played since her freshman year, was the top singles player for Northwood.
“It was a little strange to play her,” said Sparrow, who defeated Cedar Ridge freshman Sarah Evans to reach the finals. “I figured when I finished my match I would play either Faith or Tess Johnson (who were playing on a nearby court). I’m glad I played her. She’s a good opponent”
The doubles final had a surprise in store. Cedar Ridge’s Senera Sauers and Kate Milner, teaming for the first time this season, defeated the Red Wolves’ top doubles team of Leah Thompson and Alana Lutz 8-2.
It’s the second straight year that Thompson has qualified for regionals in doubles. Last season, she teamed with Maddie Allen, who graduated over the summer.
Peoples, Sparrow, Cedar Ridge’s Evans and senior Tess Johnson, along with Chapel Hill’s Gabby Kmiec all qualified for the 3A Mideast Regionals at the Burlington Tennis Center next Friday. It’s the second straight year that Peoples and Sparrow have qualified for regionals.
In additon to both Cedar Ridge teams, the doubles teams of Orange’s Ashley Tilley and Natalie Darveaux, Chapel Hill’s Megan Wu and Julia Ziaee and J.F. Webb’s Brycyn Smith and Anna Freuler all qualified for Regionals.
Kmiec and Webb’s Smith and Freuler were seeded No. 1 in their respective tournaments by the league’s coaches, which gave them automatic berths into regionals.