After sharing two conference championships in a doubles tandem, Cardinal Gibbons Jim Mantyh has a singles title to call his own.
Mantyh captured the PAC-6 singles championship with a 7-5, 6-1 victory over East Chapel Hill’s Thomas Wang on Wednesday at East Chapel Hill High.
Mantyh won two Big-8 doubles championships with Kyle Fitzgerald, now a student at N.C. State. They also captured the 2015 Mideast 3A regional title.
While Gibbons made the jump to 4A over the summer, Mantyh adjusted to being the Crusaders’ top singles player.
“It’s been a difficult year in terms of match play,” said Mantyh. “It’s been a challenge, but I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve gotten to play some great players in some great matches.”
“Thomas played a great first set,” said Mantyh. “It was very difficult. I picked up my level more in the second set. We still had a lot of great points, but I think I just closed out the big points.”
Mantyh, Wang, Gibbons’ Caleb Suh and Riverside’s Zach Kim all qualified for regionals next week at Greensboro Grimsley.
The only match of the entire tournament to go to a tiebreaker was the PAC-6 doubles championship, where Jordan’s Aiden O’Connell and Davis Cromer defeated East Chapel Hill’s Graeme and Aidan Zimmerman 10-5 in a 10-point tiebreaker after splitting the two sets, 5-7, 6-3.
It was the first conference championship for O’Connell and Cromer, the Falcons’ top singles players who had teamed only five times during the regular season going into Wednesday.
With an emotional nature resembling Mike and Bob Bryan in the professional ranks, O’Connell and Cromer didn’t let losing the first set hamper them.
“We try to stay positive out here,” said O’Connell. “We didn’t play a lot of doubles this season. We communicated really well out here and that helped us win.”
“We were trying to get momentum going into the second set, because we were looking a little shaky there,” said Cromer. “We just wanted to talk everything out because that was the key to us winning, staying positive.”
Seeded third, the Zimmermans upset second-seeded Brendan Stewart and Will Reese in the semifinals.
O’Conell and Cromer, the Zimmermans, Riverside’s Erich Choudhury and Brennan Pitts qualified for regionals, as did Gibbons’ makeshift tandem of Brendan Stewart and Will Reese.
Peter Glenn was slated to team with Reese, but was ruled out due to a ongoing shoulder injury.