It doesn’t get old for Raleigh Charter in 1A boys tennis. The Phoenix won its third consecutive N.C. High School Athletics Association dual team championship Saturday at the Burlington Tennis Center, defeating Pine Lake Prep out of Mooresville, 5-1.
“It feels amazing,” coach Ryan Griffin said. “Just being out here is a big accomplishment. So to do this three times is phenomenal and shows how hard they work.”
Raleigh Charter got off to a quick 3-0 start thanks to the bottom half of its lineup. Revant Birla defeated Blake Jansen 6-0, 6-2. Jake Satisky defeated Hunter Hollister 6-0, 6-1, and Arjun Juneja defeated Charlie Trammell 6-0, 6-0.
With the bottom half doing their part, it was up to singles state runner-up Chinna Baskaran and state doubles champions Harrison Tseng and Joseph Fisher to close out Pine Lake.
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Fisher mounted a comeback against Alex Wrench to put Raleigh Charter up 4-0. After dropping the first set 2-6, Fisher won the next set 6-2 and then won the tiebreaker 10-8. Tseng battled singles state champion Max Vicario and dropped a hard fought first set 7-6 (7-3) before bowing out of the second second, down 5-0, with lower body cramps.
That left Baskaran to close things out in singles.
“I had a feeling we were up 3-0 because I saw my teammates come to the bench real early with smiles on their faces,” Baskaran said. “I was looking at Harrison’s match and Joseph’s match and just knew that I had to step up.”
Baskaran did just that against Daniel Crossin, closing out the game with a 7-5, 7-6 (7-3) victory to give Raleigh Charter its third title in as many years.
Baskaran, a senior, was named MVP of the title match
“I’ve been waiting for these past three years for an MVP award,” Baskaran said. “It feels amazing. To get it in my senior year and clinching the win.”
After needing doubles to close out Pine Lake Prep in the last two years, Griffin was relieved that his club was able to get the job down a bit quicker this year.
“The last two years were very close,” Griffin said. “To be able to win it in singles today is phenomenal because they are a strong doubles team.”
Griffin was mainly happy and relieved to avoid doubles due to the heat. With Tseng, a three time state doubles champion, already battling cramps, Griffin knew that the fitness level of everyone would be tested had the match gone to doubles.
As for whether or not winning gets old for Griffin and Baskaran, they both offered the same response: “It never gets old.”