When Taylor Meyer took the job as Cary Academy’s boys tennis coach three years ago, he told athletics director Kevin Jones that he would refuse payment if the Chargers didn’t win a state championship.
Not only did they win the N.C. Independent Scholastic Athletic Association state championship that year, but boys tennis became the first team in Cary Academy history to capture a “three-peat” after a 5-1 victory against Matthews’ Covenant School Saturday.
“It was the first time in school history for any sport that a three-peat has been done,” Meyer said. “We’re in the history books, and probably for a long time.”
Eight members of this year’s 14-player squad were seniors, five of which were in the top six of Cary Academy’s lineup.
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Those five seniors – Shaan Butler, Calvin Ma, Patrick Mulqueen, Kevin Wu and Alex Yang – have each been a part of all three of the Chargers’ championships.
“They’ve been the core of the squad over the past three years,” Meyer said.
The quintet has posted a 64-3 team record, will all three losses coming by a 5-4 score. Meyer says each of those defeats came with starters missing, and the that full lineup has never lost a match.
That being said, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t any close calls. Meyer, who has played for tennis teams as a student at Cary Academy and UNC-Chapel Hill, said he’s never seen a group with the “clutch factor” that this one had.
“Every state championship, at the end of the day, came down to just a few points and they really led the way and pulled it through,” he said. “It was so phenomenal to watch.”
He added: “I was on a high school tennis team of my own and then coached for three years and this group showed the most character in terms of leadership and work ethic.”
Outside of NCISAA titles, the Chargers have also raked in other accolades such a being four-time North Carolina/South Carolina Tournament Champions and four-time conference champions.
With over half the team graduating, it would be easy to assume that the Chargers’ play will falter in 2016-2017, but Meyer believes the 2016 class has left an impact that won’t be forgotten when they move on to college.
“Together, they’ve set the bar at Cary Academy,” he said. “They were doing workouts before every practice and staying late every day. They set the tone for what the program stands for.”
John Peterson will be the only returning senior on next year’s team. Leo deSouza, Chris Toy and Luke Wilson also return as juniors. Luke Johnson is a rising sophomore.