High school girls tennis: Millie Wymbs leads all All-Rowan County team

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 18, 2023


By Mike London

SALISBURY — Senior Millie Wymbs won a ton of tennis matches during her career for Salisbury High, but coach Roarke Burton believes she saved her best for last — even though it was a rare loss.

Her singles finale was a setback at Hendersonville, where the Hornets had traveled for the dual team regional final, but Wymbs couldn’t have played much better.

“She was playing against one of the best girls in the state, and not many people are going to push that girl (Eliza Perry), but Millie did,” Burton said. “It was very cool to watch. I was  proud to see her give it everything she had right down to the last point.”

A few days later, Perry led Hendersonville to its fifth straight 2A state dual team title.

Perry and her partner, Ramsey Ross, also were on the other side of the net from Wymbs for the last doubles match she played as a Hornet. Millie and her younger sister, Cora, finished as the runner-up team in the state’s 2A individual tournament.

Millie is a tough competitor who is never going to be satisfied with silver medals, but she had another spectacular season.

“That last match, I knew it might be my last one, but I tried not to put any extra pressure on myself,” she said. “I went out and did my best.”

Wymbs — it rhymes with climbs, not limbs —  is the Post’s Rowan County Player of the Year for the third time. When she was a sophomore, she shared the honor with her doubles partner Abby Campion. She’s been a solo honoree the past two seasons.

She is also a three-time Central Carolina Conference Player of the Year. She’s the first Hornet since Hannah Lebowitz (2007-09) to win that award three straight times.

For the last two seasons, Wymbs and her sister have racked up a room full of trophies as a doubles tandem, including this year’s regional championship.

“I enjoy playing with Cora,” Millie said. “We get along well. We always make it work when we’re on the court together.”

Millie started playing tennis early in life with her father, Bryan. She started to get serious about tennis when she was competing for Salisbury Academy. She liked the fast pace and the fact that you could move on immediately from a losing point to chase after the next one.

Millie, who was 14-5 at No. 1 singles and 11-1 at No. 1 singles this season, is more than a tennis player. She’s one of the county’s best athletes.

She’s sprinted on Salisbury state champion 4×400 relay teams in indoor and outdoor track. In last spring’s Robert Steele Rowan County Track Championships, she placed second in the 400 and 800.

“Millie is a super athlete, and no one she sees on a tennis court is going to be a better athlete than her,” Burton said.

Running has given her stamina and endurance, and her natural speed helps her cover a tennis court.

“Being fast does help me to some balls that others can’t get to,” she said. “And I just really enjoy competing. I never quit.”

Millie isn’t certain what’s coming after graduation, but she has an unusual goal — the Coast Guard Academy.

“I really like structure, so I’ve looked at the military schools, but the Coast Guard Academy would be my dream school,” Wymbs said. “It’s a hard school to get into, but I would love to do that. At the Coast Guard Academy, you’re not preparing for war. In the Coast Guard, you might get a chance to save people.”

As far as the short term, she’s moving on now to indoor track. She also plans to help out the Hornets in swim meets.


Salisbury had a terrific season, making the 2A dual team Final Four and finishing with a 17-3 record. The losses besides the one to Hendersonville in the regional final were to 4A Lake Norman and to Mount Airy, a program that ran the table in 1A. Salisbury knew it was going to over-match the competition in the CCC. so it took on stout non-conference teams such as Ledford and North Lincoln early in the season.

The Hornets were well-prepared for the playoffs and won road matches at Lincoln Charter and top-seeded Shelby before they took on Hendersonville.

“We had some inexperienced players at the bottom of the lineup, but all of our girls did a great job,” Burton said. “It was a long season, starting with July workouts and lasting into November. They never stopped working and never stopped improving. We had six make all-conference.”

Burton shares Rowan County Coach of the Year honors with West Rowan’s Jonathan Brown who steered the Falcons (16-3) to a surprising season that included a second-place finish in the nine-team South Piedmont Conference and a victory in the 3A playoffs.


Salisbury’s Lucy Barr, the CCC singles champion, and Meredith Williams qualified for the state individual tournament and joined the Wymbs sisters in Holly Springs.

Quite a few Rowan girls were qualifiers for the individual regionals, including the Hornets’ No. 5 and No. 6 players — Addie Griffith and Lola Koontz.

Carson’s Kayla Cook, West Rowan’s Autumn Yount and South Rowan’s Grace Meckley and Bella Caraccio qualified for regionals in singles, while Carson’s Allie Martin and Brenna Smith qualified as a doubles team.

All-Rowan County

Salisbury (6) — Millie Wymbs, Lucy Barr, Cora Wymbs, Meredith Williams, Addie Griffith, Lola Koontz

West (4) — Autumn Yount, Emma Crider, Olyvia Brown, Lucy Moore

Carson (3) — Allie Martin, Kayla Cook, Brenna Smith

South (3) — Bella Caraccio, Grace Meckley, Sophie Steedley

East (1) — Jaylen Jones

Coaches of the Year — Roarke Burton, Salisbury and John Brown, West