High school tennis: Carson had lots of seniors, playoff hopes
Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 16, 2020
Carson boys tennis
Coach: Josh Trexler (8th season)
2019 record: 7-6, 6-4 North Piedmont Conference (3rd place)
2019 playoffs: Did not make playoffs
2020 record: 1-2
Seniors: Jacob Horner, Nathaniel Kimball, Tyler Seamon, Ethen Fesperman, Cameron Dunn, Robert Barringer, Thomas Bost, Jacob Barringer
By Mike London
CHINA GROVE — Carson won its only North Piedmont Conference match, taking a 5-4 decision from East Rowan by the skinny margin of an 8-6 victory at No. 2 doubles by Andrew Beaver and Tyler Seamon. It was 4-all when that result came in.
“We’re 1-0 in the conference, and if we don’t play again I’m claiming a championship,” Carson coach Josh Trexler said. “I’ll claim it for the rest of my life.”
Trexler said it with a chuckle in his voice, but you can’t blame him. Boys tennis success has been elusive for the Cougars.
It’s not as easy to make the tennis playoffs as it is some sports. Basically, the top two in the conference go. That’s it. Carson’s boys have made it only three times and have never won a playoff match.
The Cougars had a chance to make the playoff bracket this year, with a senior-laden team. Second place (behind South Iredell) was up for grabs between Carson and West Rowan, while East Rowan, which had lost to both of them, 5-4, wasn’t out of the picture.
Senior Jacob Horner, last years’s No. 2, was playing No. 1 singles for the Cougars. Senior Nathaniel Kimball, who played No. 4 or No. 5 last year, was at No. 2.
The rest of the top six seeds in the early going were Beaver, a junior who is the football kicker, seniors Seamon and Ethen Fesperman and junior Parker Steele.
“We had some guys who hadn’t played tennis many years, but they’d really picked up things fast,” Trexler said.
Carson had dropped three tiebreakers in a 5-4 loss to Northwest Cabarrus. An 8-1 loss to Concord was competitive at the bottom half of the draw.
“Our season was a short story,” Trexler said. “My heart breaks for our guys. In all, we’ve got eight seniors. I taught a lot of them in AP classes and talked them into coming out for tennis. This is my eighth year, and as far as good people, good students and good athletes, this is the most enjoyable group I’ve had. I’ll miss them the most.”
Senior Cameron Dunn, who would have been a factor, hadn’t played at all in the first three matches. He’d completed a nursing class that included an afternoon component at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College the first week of March. He would’ve been able to play in the rest of the matches. But suddenly, there were no more matches. The season shut down in mid-March.
All spring sports hang by a thin thread, but tennis is the least likely to be resumed. Tennis has a regular season scheduled to end on April 16. Schools are shut down at least through May 15. Graduation is scheduled for May 22.
“We had a lot of interest this year,” Trexler said. “Seventeen players, the biggest team I’ve ever had. Getting a playoff spot is always big for this program. We had a chance.”