Prep Tennis: West gets five in regionals
By Ryan Bisesi
MOUNT ULLA — When all was said and done at the 3A NPC boys tennis tournament, West Rowan had five players qualify for the regionals.
That sounded pretty good to West coach John Brown.
“I expected three of us to go,” Brown said. “Knowing that as a team that all six of us could go, but we’d have to play well. We got five so I think we did a good job.”
West, who finished second in the conference to Statesville, had solid showings in the doubles format.
The Falcons had a pair of doubles teams win twice Tuesday with No. 4 seed Ben Wilson/Tyler Mullis beat North Iredell’s Dustin Laney/Ryan McCoy, seeded fifth, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 in the semifinals to end the regular season 7-0 against NPC foes.
“After we lost the first set, we told each other we can do this even though we knew it would be tough,” said Wilson, a sophomore. “We came back and won the last two.”
Chris Holmes and Kevin Robinson was the other pair from West to prevail. The two earned a bye in the first round as a 2 seed, then rolled past Carson’s Phillip Wirz and Matt Miller 6-1, 6-0. Holmes and Robinson improved to 9-3 overall and 9-1 in the NPC. West’s Joel Britton was voted into the regionals in singles play.
“I knew that for Mullis and Wilson to win that they were going to have to play well and they did,” Brown said.
Carson brothers Frank and Garrett Thomas won their semifinal doubles match against Devin Smith and Chandler Fry of East Rowan in a 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 battle that lasted roughly two hours. It marked the first time either Frank, a junior, or Garrett, a senior, had made the regionals.
“It was a lot tougher for them that what they thought it would be,” Carson coach Andy Houck said. “They got down and showed they know how to come back tonight.”
“We only got five or 10 minutes to warm up and it takes me a while,” Frank Thomas said. “In the end, we just had to get the ball over the net.”
East’s Justin Allen, ranked 13th as a freshman at the start of the day, beat South’s Reynald Sanchez in the quarterfinals before falling to No. 5 Bryant Vinson of Statesville 4-6, 6-0, 6-2 in another match that time forgot.
“I felt like I couldn’t get anything in,” said Allen of the last two sets. “Everything I tried to hit in, it went out.”
East’s Chris Fleming and Andrew Daniels won their first-round doubles match against West Iredell before falling to Statesville’s Jay McCelland and Kirk Williamson 6-0, 6-0.
South’s Jared Waters, seeded second, reached the regionals with a semifinal round victory against West Iredell’s Mason Morrison in a 6-1, 7-5 triumph.
The individual regionals will begin May 6.