A high school tennis singles state champion absent last year with a back injury has added to his comeback with a second regional title in three years to go with the same feat he managed in the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference.
Middle Creek junior Nick Stachowiak defeated Clayton junior Klein Evans 6-1, 6-3 on Monday in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A Mideast Regional singles finals at Enloe High.
“It feels good to win regionals again,” said Stachowiak, who now aims for a second title in three years in the 4A state tournament Friday and Saturday at Millbrook Exchange.
Stachowiak and Evans are friends, but it was the first time they met in a high school match.
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“It’s always hard to beat a friend, but I had to work my way through it,” Stachowiak said. “You have to be ready for anything because he has nothing to lose. I was off for a year, but I feel better physically. I’m playing better tennis than as a freshman.”
The top four regional places in both singles and doubles advanced to the state tournament.
The singles third-place match was all-Wakefield as sophomore Blake Carter defeated sophomore Nico Grewe 7-5, 7-5.
Wakefield senior Jensen Martin repeated as the 4A Mideast doubles champion but with a new partner and an old friend, senior Bo Boyden. They wrapped up their title in Saturday’s first day of competition with a 2-0 victory over Green Hope’s Louis Rico and George Edwards.
But the third-place doubles match wasn’t decided until Monday when Millbrook junior Austin Cobb and freshman Josiah Schainblatt defeated Wakefield juniors Lake Ihly and Robert Belonga, 6-1, 6-4.
Boyden, bound for North Carolina, and Martin, committed to Charlotte, claimed a second straight 4A state tournament title. But Martin teamed with Phillip Lauture last season, while Boyden won his state crown in singles.
Boyden opted to play doubles this year to finish his individual career in pursuit of a state doubles title that eluded him and Martin as freshmen. The four-time all-state selections advanced to the 2012 semifinals before they were eliminated.
“They are best friends and wanted to win a state title together,” said Wakefield coach Ken Stewart, whose team also is the defending 4A state dual-team champion. “Those two have done everything we could ask for in the last four years.”