KING — The beat goes on for the Mount Airy tennis team.
A day after locking up a Northwest 1A Conference co-championship, the Granite Bears set out to prove their mastery of the Western Piedmont 2A as well, challenging WP2A leader West Stokes on its own court. Mount Airy just missed a sweep, downing the Wildcats 8-1 to improve to 16-1 on the season.
The Bears, whose only individual match loss of the day came in a tiebreaker set at No. 1 singles, will end the regular season with victories over at least three conference champions — fellow NW1A co-champ Bishop McGuinness, Mountain Valley champ Elkin, and the WP2A champ, whether it be West Stokes or Surry Central, or both if they tie for first.
In the second showdown of the year with the Wildcats (7-2), Mount Airy already led 3-0 before the home team scored its lone point. Senior Gentry Williamson started things off with a 6-1, 6-1 dusting of Andrew Spainhour at No. 3 singles. Harrison Morris made it 2-0 with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Frank Sells at No. 2, and then Emory Bray downed Noah Spainhour 3-6, 6-2, (10-5) in a match between the fourth seeds that went to a tiebreaker set. Bray won 10 of the last 12 points of the tiebreaker to prevail.
While that was going on, West’s Ethan Elliott rallied from a loss in the first set to also force a tiebreaker, and handed the Bears’ Hunt Harrison a 2-6, 6-1, (10-4) defeat. The culprit for Mount Airy’s top seed was a faulty service game. After hitting the ball well in the first set and earning two breaks, he held serve just once in set two, and then let a 3-0 lead slip away in the tiebreaker.
Owen Perkins got the Bears back on track with a 6-1, 6-4 victory at No. 6 singles, and then Grey Tucker closed out his 6-3, 6-3 victory over Cameron Cresong at No. 5 to end the singles and secure the team win for Mount Airy. The No. 6 singles was noteworthy for the inability of either player to hold serve; Tucker and Ian Simpson had 12 breaks between them. The last one gave Tucker the win.
In doubles, the No. 2 team of Williamson and Bray closed their match out first, routing Sells and Andrew Spainhour 8-2. The next to finish was the No. 1, where Harrison and Morris dropped a service game to trail 5-6 but then broke back against Elliott and Noah Spainhour before winning out, 8-6. Perkins and Hunter Eaton ended things by defeating Cresong and Simpson 8-5.
The Bears face another challenging match on Monday, when they travel to Surry Central, a team that trails West Stokes by just one match for the WP2A lead.