All the excitement was in the doubles matches.
It had to be, because both the championship and consolation singles finals of the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference boys individual tennis tournament were decided in walkovers.
Panther Creek’s young duo of Alex Kim and Rishi Kakkar won a 1-6, 6-2, 10-4 nailbiter over Middle Creek’s McGrew brothers – Owen and Grant – to claim the doubles title on Thursday at the Cary Tennis Center.
In singles, Green Hope senior Ben Wayand was declared champion over Trice Pickens, after the Panther Creek junior came down with strep throat following Wednesday’s semifinal. That prevented what loomed as a classic rematch, as the two had split their regular-season meetings to give Wayand his only loss of the year.
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Green Hope sophomore Vivik Ramesh won third place in singles, with the walkover against Apex’s Pascal Le.
In the third-place doubles match, Cary’s Lawrence Friedland and Damien Guildbaud defeated Green Hope’s Rohit Ghotkar and Andrei Staicu 6-1, 6-4.
Panther Creek coach Greg Ray said he was thrilled for his winning doubles team. The sophomore Kim and freshman Kakkar have played at the No. 2 spot for the Catamounts all season, but entered as Panther Creek’s top doubles team in the event. They had not played the McGrews during the regular season.
“Alex is a little more seasoned, after playing on a team that made the state final last year,” said Ray, whose team is 14-2 this season with both losses to Green Hope. “Rishi is just a solid young player. He’s very good at decision-making and is very consistent. It makes for a good pair. They served well today and made some great passes down the sidelines in the doubles alleys. What made the win more satisfying was that they had lost to the (fourth-place) Green Hope guys twice in tiebreakers during the regular season.”
Cary’s Janet Trotter was voted coach of the year. The Imps (13-6, 10-6) finished fourth behind Green Hope, Panther Creek and Middle Creek.
Thursday’s matches were held at 11 a.m. instead of the previously scheduled 2 p.m. start time because of the threat of rain.
The 4A Mideast regional will be held May 5-6 at Raleigh’s Millbrook Exchange Park.