KING — An experienced Wildcat squad handed Surry Central its first conference loss in tennis Monday.
The Golden Eagles were tied for first place after knocking off rival North Surry on Friday.
Then they came across a West Stokes team that returned every starter from last year.
West Stokes won 7-2 to take sole possession of first in the Western Piedmont Conference.
“We could have played better, but the truth is that they are better than we are right now,” said Central coach Mark Parsons. “They were good last year and didn’t lose anybody.”
The good thing about conference play is that the two teams will meet again on Central’s home court, so the boys will have a chance to play West back, he said.
Not a single player was blanked in any set, and the less experienced players are getting better every match, the coach believed.
The score was 7-2, but the Eagles came up a little short in three different matches. If those three were reversed, the Eagles could have pulled out a 5-4 win.
The Wildcats won the top five singles spots, with Central’s Andrew Hegler beating David Gravitte in the sixth match 6-3, 6-4.
At the top spot, Andrew Holmes beat Zack Wilmoth 6-2, 6-4. On Court Two, Sam Elter beat Kirk Needham 6-3, 6-2. At the third slot, George Blankenship beat Trent Day 6-2, 6-2.
Central’s Weston Mosley nearly won at the fourth spot.
He won the first set 6-4, but West’s Jacob Covington took the second 6-4 and then won the tiebreaker 10-2.
“He’s been in the program three years,” the coach said. “Weston has been there before, but he just couldn’t pull it out. I am not disappointed in him at all; he played very well.”
Mosley hates to lose, but he went against a player who would be seeded higher than fourth on most teams.
At the fifth spot, West’s Frank Sells beat Tanner Mears 6-3, 7-6.
The first set didn’t seem that close, but Tanner bounced back and put together some strong points in the second set, according to the coach. He made it very close.
As for Hegler’s win, Parsons said that the football/swimmer is very raw at tennis, but has good athleticism and is a great competitor.
After two long, tough second sets, Mears and Hegler nearly pulled off a doubles win, falling 9-7 to Covington/Gravitte.
Likewise, Mosley had to be exhausted after his lengthy three-set loss, but he and Needham teamed up to win 8-3 over Blankenship/Sells.
At one doubles, Central’s Wilmoth and Day lost to Holmes/Elter 8-3.
Parsons said he believes he can do a better job of getting the boys ready for the rematch, and the players will get better with experience.
The Eagles are scheduled to play at Mount Airy on Wednesday, weather permitting. Central also was set to play Carver on Thursday, but Parsons said the new conference member doesn’t have a team this year.