Two area schools fell just short in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 2A boys tennis individual championships on Saturday at N.C. State.
Carrboro’s doubles team of Jason Wykoff and Andre Javen lost in the finals to Brevard’s Liam Baer and Cameron Wilson 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. In singles, Newton-Conover freshman Brian Reid defeated N.C. School of Science and Math senior Depei Yu, 6-3, 6-2.
The doubles match-up was a grueling back-and-forth affair, but the Brevard duo’s experience and endurance allowed them to outlast Carrboro.
“This was maybe their sixth match playing together,” Carrboro coach John Noyes said. “They just started playing together in the conference tournament. Comparatively, they haven’t played together much.”
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In contrast, Baer and Wilson have been together two years and made it to the semifinals last year, where they lost to eventual champions Wykoff and Brian Freiburghouse.
In the semifinals, Wykoff and Javen played Brevard duo Aiden Spadlin and Cullen Duvall. While Carrboro won in straight sets, the second set was a 7-6 (10) victory that seemed to drain both competitors
Carrboro coach John Noyes didn’t make excuses for Wykoff and Javen saying, “(Brevard) were better at the right time. They hit the big shots.”
In singles, Yu said it took some time to adjust.
“I was little surprised by his pace,” Yu said. “I wasn’t expecting him to hit through the ball that much. It threw my timing off, and I wasn’t able to recover from there.”
“We talked about attacking a little more,” NCSSM coach Richard McClenny said. “We just weren’t able to do it. (Reid) had very very good defense.”
Yu defeated Shelby’s Kenji Price in the semifinals in straight sets, 6-1, 6-1. After falling in the semifinals last year to eventual champion Joseph Schrader, Yu felt more confident heading into this year’s tournament and put in the work during the offseason to come back stronger.
“I just hit every single day,” Yu said. “I knew I could get this far as long as I didn’t get lazy or slack off.”
McClenny also praised his athlete’s work effort, especially coming from an educationally demanding school like NCSSM.
“At Science and Math, we don’t have anyone that he can really train with that is at his level,” McClenny said. “He’s missed that, but he works really hard. In tennis, the guys who are higher up, are playing hours and hours a day. They are one the court four or five hours a day. You can’t do that at Science and Math.”
Also in doubles, Goldsboro’s Sam De Araujo and Xan Pate fell to the Brevard duo in the semifinals in straight sets 6-1, 6-0.
After not having a representative in last year’s tournament, Goldsboro was a surprise this year. De Araujo and Pate defeated an experienced NCSSM team of Ashvin Warrier and Evan Jiang in the second round and finished as the top seed in their bracket.