The Triangle had the right combination on Saturday as doubles teams from Carrboro and Raleigh Charter prevailed in the N.C. High School Athletic Association boys tennis individual championships Saturday at Middle Creek Park.
Raleigh Charter’s Harrison Tseng and Revant Birla had to defeat teammates Brandon Wacaser and Arjun Juneja, 6-1, 6-3 for the 1A title.
“I gave them the option if they wanted me to proactively coach or wait till they come to ask me questions,” Ryan Griffin said. “It’s a little weird watching when you’re going to have somebody win and somebody lose, but it’s both teams were playing hard and raising competitiveness across the board.”
In the 2A championship, Carrboro’s Brian Freiburghouse and Jason Wykoff defeated Salisbury’s Spencer Storey and David Derrick 6-2, 6-3.
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Freiburghouse, a senior, and Wykoff, a junior, had been close to winning a state title before, but it took each other to become the pair with the hardware. Wykoff was a runner-up in last year’s doubles title and Freiburghouse was a singles runner-up as a freshman.
The Jaguars were dominant at the net, which provided big points in a long semifinal win against Brevard’s Liam Baer and Cameron Wilson 3-6, 6-1, 6-3.
“We knew we had to get to the net really quick to finish points off,” Freiburghouse said.
“A lot of teams in this (classification) don’t attack the net as much,” Wykoff said.
Carrboro’s Jon Noyes said the duo’s different personalities play well together.
“One’s fire and one’s ice,” Noyes said. “Jason keeps Brian in the game and Brian can take it over and win it for him. It’s a great combination.”
N.C. School of Science and Math’s Depei Yu fell in the 2A singles semifinal 6-2, 6-4 to eventual champion Joseph Schrader of Brevard while Carrboro’s Zach Anderson lost 6-0, 6-1 to eventual runner-up Ryen Reid of Newton-Conover.
Other finishers: NCSSM’s Nick Kuzma lost in the first round of singles 6-1, 6-0 to Reid; Carrboro’s Andre Javen lost in first round to Schrader; NCSSM’s Vishal Naik and Mrinaj Janampalli lost 7-5, 6-3 in the second round to Washington’s Holt and Ben McKeithan; NCSSM’s Ashvin Warrier and Tejas Dalvi lost 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 to Storey and Derrick.
An all-Phoenix final was no given, despite Raleigh Charter’s success in recent years. Tseng and Birla lost the first set of Friday’s semifinals before rallying by Albemarle’s Spencer Dixon and Rusty Batten 0-6, 7-6, 7-5.
“The four or five match-points, Harrison saved them all on the ad-side. It was tense,” Birla said. “I was at the net just hoping he would not miss and win the point.”
Tseng was on last year’s 1A doubles title team with a different partner.
“We learned that we needed more communication skills and to work better to win,” Tseng said.
Wacaser and Juneja, who have only teamed up for doubles in the individual postseason, found chemistry fast in a three-set win against Pine Lake Prep’s Brian Forte and Alex Wrench, 6-4, 6-7, 6-4.
“The partner I was supposed to play with was unable to compete, so I paired up with Arjun and I think it worked great,” Wacaser said. “He’s a monster at the net, he gets everything back. That consistency that he has, that calmness on the court, makes me play better too.”
The two doubles pairings had also competed for the 1A East regional title a week earlier.
“We had taken the first set off (Tseng and Birla) last weekend (at regionals) so we knew the weakness and how to exploit them,” Juneja said. “But after we started playing them, it got tough.”
In singles, Raleigh Charter’s Chinna Baskaran lost to eventual runner-up Max Vicario of Pine Lake Prep 6-1, 6-3 in the semifinals on Friday.
Other finishers: Voyager Academy’s Christian Quick lost 6-0, 6-1 to Elkin’s Ryan Macy in the first round; Raleigh Charter’s Joseph Fisher lost 6-2, 6-0 to Vicario in the first round; Rosewood’s Jordan Price and Lucas Parrish lost 6-0, 6-1 in the first round to Albemarle’s Spencer Dixon and Rusty Batten.
In Burlington, Union Pines’ Ben Williams and Will Hart fell short in the semifinals to Weddington’s eventual state runners-up William Hatt and Nicholas Ulehla 6-2, 7-5.
Other finishers: Fike’s Sunny Sandhu lost in the first round to Cuthbertson’s Austin Schepel; Chapel Hill’s David Mirzoyan lost 6-1, 6-0 to Forestview’s Charlie Schuls in the first round; Cleveland’s Dylan Betancourt lost in the second round to Asheville’s Zach Theodossiou 7-6 (7-4), 6-3); Rocky Mount’s Tyer Brice and George Shannon lost in the first round 6-2, 7-5 to Marvind Ridge’s Liam Florian and Chris Graveline; Chapel Hill’s Jared Weber and Jerry Cai lost 6-4, 6-1 in the first round to North Buncome’s Holden Ballard and Avanish Madhavaram; Fike’s John Gilarmis and Michael Anders lost 6-1, 6-0 to Western Guilford’s Jon-Anthony Thomas and Eric Whisnant in the first round.