N.C. School of Science and Math went back-to-back in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 2A dual team boys tennis championships on Saturday morning. For the second straight year, the Unicorns defeated Brevard in the finals, winning 5-0.
“The guys really played well today,” Unicorns coach Richard McClenny said. “We got off to a good start, which was very important. And then we closed it out.”
NCSSM was led by senior star Depei Yu, who finished second in the 2A state singles tournament last weekend, but won the tournament event on Saturday. Yu defeated Liam Baer 6-0, 6-4 on the first court. Fellow senior, Ashvin Warrier continued that momentum with a 6-2, 7-5 victory over Charles Kang.
Vincent Xia and defeated Aiden Spradlin 6-1, 6-3, and Josh Abrams defeated Cullen Duval 6-1, 6-1 to give NCSSM a 4-0 lead.
In a back-and-forth battle, senior Nick Kuzma closed out Wilson Cameron 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-1) to clinch the title.
“We had a lot of close sets,” Kuzma said. “Cam’s a great player, but it felt great to close it out and end it on a good note.”
The match between NCSSM’s Lu Cao and Brevard’s Ty Whitesides was suspended with Whitesides leading 7-5, 5-4.
The senior trio of Yu, Kuzma, and Warrier helped carry NCSSM to an undefeated season and McClenny credited their hard work and leadership throughout the year.
“As seniors and captains, we’re the role models for the team,” Kuzma said. “We’re showing them that we’re motivated, and we’re putting in all of this effort. It shows them that if you put in the work, it pays off with a state championship.”
Yu and Warrier, roommates on campus, helped motivate one another throughout the last two years to hit when they were down with their schoolwork.
“It’s good to have someone else that you’re close with that you can hit with,” Yu said. “We have that competition. All you need is one other person to hit with, and you’ll see the benefits.”
Warrier followed that up by saying, “We have a big advantage because we live on campus and our courts are a two-minute walk from our rooms.”