SALISBURY — Surry Central’s top two doubles teams were the class of the Western Piedmont Athletic Conference, where they entered the league tournament draw on opposite ends and finally ended up dueling each other in an all black-and-gold final.
It very nearly happened again at the 2A Midwest Regionals, and both teams are headed to the state championships on Oct. 28-29 in Cary to represent Surry Central and compete for the title.
The only thing that stood in the way of another all-Surry Central final on Saturday at Salisbury High School was the presence of eventual regional champions Eva Lovell and Hailey Mince of Wheatmore High School. They defeated Central’s No. 1 doubles team of Sarah Wyble and Hope Hinson in Saturday morning’s semifinal, and then faced the No. 2 team of Anna Senter and Hannah Pardue in the final, after they had beaten Amanda Eddins and Lindsey Matheny of West Wilkes 6-3, 6-4 in their semi.
“This has been a great year for our program,” said second-year Surry Central head coach Holly Porter, whose team went unbeaten in WPAC play for the fourth consecutive season. “It’s the first time we’ve taken two to state, and to finish 2-3 in the doubles is amazing.”
Even though neither team could beat Lovell and Mince, they might get another chance, since the top four finishers at each regional earn a trip to the state championship, and both of the Lady Eagles’ teams knew they were going to state as soon as they finished up on Friday. They, and the school’s singles representative at regionals, Sarah Marion, were back in Dobson in time for Central’s football game against rival North Surry that night, where they were all honored at halftime of the Golden Eagles’ 26-21 victory over North Surry.
Marion’s performance, although it came up just short of a trip to the state finals, has nevertheless been impressive in its own right. She was chosen to represent the Lady Eagles in the conference tournament in singles since Central’s top two doubles teams chose to compete for that championship. As a sophomore this season, she posted a 14-1 record as the Lady Eagles’ No. 4 singles player. Being No. 4 on her team resulted in her drawing a relatively low seed in the WPAC tournament. Despite that, she made it all the way to the conference final.
In Salisbury, Marion swept her first-round opponent out of the regional with a 6-0, 7-6 victory and was one win away from qualifying for state herself.
“I feel extremely fortunate, proud and honored to coach these girls,” Porter said. “They are all wonderful people.”
In addition to the individual state championships, Surry Central still awaits the start of the dual-team 2A state playoffs, where all five of the previously mentioned players and sophomore Haily Robertson, no slouch herself with a combined 26-7 record in singles and doubles this season, will begin play on Tuesday evening at home against a to-be-determined opponent.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.