High school tennis: North was rebuilding
North Rowan boys tennis
Coach: Michael Brooks (2nd season)
2019 record: 9-7 overall; 8-6 1A Yadkin Valley Conference (tied for 3rd)
2019 playoffs: Lost 1st round to Thomas Jefferson
2020 record: 0-5
Senior: Ray Montes
By Mike London
SPENCER — North Rowan coach Michael Brooks guided the boys tennis team to what was only the second playoff appearance in program history in 2019.
But the Cavaliers graduated Hans Roemer, one of the county’s top players, along with No. 2 seed J.D. Hager, who had formed a very tough No. 1 doubles team with Roemer. Roemer went 15-1 in singles. Hager won two-thirds of his singles matches.
Brooks, a West Virginia native who teaches chorus, knew it would be tougher in 2020 without those two.
“We were definitely looking at a rebuilding year and we had only six players this time, the bare minimum,” Brooks said.
The team leader and captain was Ray Montes, the lone senior. Montes contributed quite a few wins at No. 3 singles a year ago, but it was a big jump to No. 1.
Arizona Day, a sophomore who played mostly as the No. 5 seed as a freshman, had moved up to No. 2 for the Cavaliers.
That was pretty much it, as far as experience.
Freshmen Noah Williams was playing No. 3 singles, while freshman Eduardo Reyes was playing No. 6. Lee Patterson, a sophomore who played in a couple of matches as a freshman, was at No. 4. Junior Stephen Leichman was competing for North for the first time. He was the No. 5 guy.
After a couple of 9-0 losses to start the season, the Cavaliers lost 7-2 to North Stanly. The Cavaliers got a hard-fought win on a third-set tiebreaker by Day, while the team of Day/Montes prevailed at No. 1 doubles.
North also had individual wins in a doubleheader loss to Chatham Central shortly before the season was shut down by COVID-19 concerns in mid-March.
“We’ve got a great bunch of guys and we were making progress,” Brooks said. “Eduardo Reyes had only been playing tennis for two weeks when this season started, but he won his last match. Over the course of a normal season, we would’ve improved a lot.”
Brooks hates the abbreviated, especially for Montes. It’s been the toughest spring imaginable for every senior.
“I’ve told our guys to keep working and to come back strong in 2021,” Brooks said. “Hopefully, we’ll have a few more players next year. That’s one of my goals.”