Clayton senior Klein Evans lost to just one kind of tennis player these last two seasons: a state champion.
Last year, Evans was undefeated except for losses to Middle Creek’s Nick Stachowiak in the regional and state final.
Stachowiak, a senior, has never lost any high school match. Heading to Duke next year, he’s going for a third state 4A singles title. He was unable to compete as a sophomore due to a broken back.
Teams to watch
Cardinal Gibbons (22-5): The 3A state runners-up are now in 4A led by senior Jim Mantyh and juniors Kyler Zadell and Brody Chapman.
Carrboro (14-1): The 2A champion Jaguars welcome back Jake Zinn as half of a state doubles championship team. No. 2 Brian Freiburghouse, No. 3 Zach Anderson, No. 5 Andre Javan and No. 6 Jason Wykuff didn’t lose a single match in the regular season. Wykuff and Anderson were the 2A doubles runner-up team.
Cary Academy (22-1): Won the NCISAA 3A title. Seniors Alex Yang and Calvin Ma return at the top two seeds.
Chapel Hill (12-4): The Tigers will be the Big 8 3A favorites despite graduating four of the top six.
Clayton (16-1): Cincinnati recruit Klein Evans, a senior, was the 4A singles runner-up. The Comets bring back a full lineup that lost just one singles match the entire regular season.
East Chapel Hill (13-2): The Wildcats will be led by Priyan DeSilva, Kevin Huang and Thomas Wang.
East Wake (11-4): Four of the top six are back, led by junior Jake Clement and senior Brooks Stancil.
Franklin Academy (10-6): The Patriots have five starters back, including No. 1 Cyrus Richardson. Sam Blevins, Perry Frutiger, Zach Harris and Brandon Lay round out the returners.
Green Hope (18-1): The Falcons’ only loss was to Wakefield in the fourth round. Juniors Ashwyn Inala, Ben Wayand and Rohit Ghotkar and seniors Matt Whitney, George Edwards and Eshaan Javalkar lead the way.
Jordan (8-7): The Falcons return senior Caleb Avery and sophomores Davis Cromer and Aidan O’Connell.
Louisburg (15-2): The Warriors return No. 2 singles player Alejandro Rivera, Christian Rose and Reed Wheless.
Millbrook (17-3): The 4A East runners-up return their 2-5 singles players: Matthew Moody, Austin Cobb, Michael Moody and Josiah Schainblatt.
N.C. School of Science and Math (10-1): The Unicorns return four of their top six, led by No. 1 Daniel Lee.
North Johnston (11-3): The Panthers graduated only one player from last year’s lineup.
Raleigh Charter (11-0): Chinna Baskaran was a 1A singles semifinalist for the state champions. He and the rest of the top four – Revant Birla, Joseph Fisher and Harrison Tseng – are back. Tseng and Fisher were 1A doubles champs.
Union Pines (17-2): The 3A East runners-up stand to gain a lot with Gibbons moving to 4A. Five of the top six return, led by sophomore Will Hart and doubles semifinalist Ben Williams.
Voyager Academy (9-3): 1A East runners-up bring back four starters including No. 2 Christian Quick.
Wakefield (21-0): The 4A champs had a lineup that lost just five individual matches last year. Juniors Blake Carter and Nico Grewe and seniors Lake Ihly and Robert Belonga move up after playing Nos. 3-6.
Individuals to watch
Dylan Betancourt, Sr., Cleveland: Top returner for 7-6 Rams.
David Bond, Sr., Carolina Friends: All-state NCISAA 2A.
Brett Clayton, Soph., South Granville: Top returner for 6-2 Vikings.
Tate Godwin, Sr., Carolina Friends: All-state NCISAA 2A.
Jordan Hudson, Sr., Garner: Top returner for 10-4 Trojans.
Christian Jacobsen, Sr., Cary Christian: All-state NCISAA 2A.
Ian Lobaugh, Sr., Durham School of the Arts: 2A state qualifier.
Jaxon Mitchell, Sr., Jordan-Matthews: Top returner for 9-4 Jets.
Sidd Pal, Soph., Panther Creek: Top returner for 11-4 Catamounts.
Nikhar Patel, Soph., Corinth Holders: Top returner for 10-1 Two Rivers 3A champs.
Nick Stachowiak, Sr., Middle Creek: Duke recruit going for his third 4A singles title. Has never lost a high school singles or doubles match.
David Zilberter, Jr., St. David’s: All-state NCISAA 2A.