BURLINGTON — The Lady Bears took all the drama out of Saturday’s 1A state tennis final with a dominant win over the N.C. School of Science and Math.
Mount Airy won its second-straight dual-team title and fourth state championship with a 5-0 sweep of the Lady Unicorns that would have been 6-0, but third seed Jade Hughes halted her one-sided match when the team clinched the necessary five wins.
The Unicorns were hurt by having their third seed out Saturday, forcing the lower seeds up a spot. Of course, the Bears have played the entire season without their third seed as Elizabeth Dinkins only came back late in the season for doubles play.
The players took the court around 9:30 a.m. After warming up, the Bears ran through the singles matches in about an hour, according to Coach Scott Kniskern.
“Short and sweet,” he said simply. Science and Math always has a good team, so he was surprised at how easy his team won.
Five of the six matches began 3-0. In the other, fourth seed Haley Thomas dropped her first game, then won 12 straight for the win.
Top seed Jordan Jackson raced through a 6-0, 6-0 sweep of Anna Page to finish first, then supported her teammates from the fan seating area.
Then sixth seed Carley VanHoy topped Puja Patel 6-0, 6-1.
The second, fourth and fifth seeds all finished right at the same time, Kniskern said.
Thomas beat Ashleigh Cleveland. Fifth seed Bree Hughes won over Erin Rymiszewski 6-1, 6-0. Then second seed Davi Barbour defeated Gabrielle Beaudry 6-1, 6-1.
Bree was still collecting her gear to come off the court when Davi took her last point, the coach said.
Because of the sudden conclusion, it took about five seconds for it all to sink in, he said. Then everyone rushed Davi’s court to celebrate, including Jade Hughes, who was up then 6-0, 3-1 on Laura Weng.
After the match, the team ate lunch together at a restaurant while constantly sending text messages to friends in Raleigh to see how the North Surry volleyball team was fairing in that title match.
As they ate, seniors Jackson, Dinkins, Jade Hughes and Blair Holcomb told the younger players that they have to keep the streak going next year, said Kniskern.
Barbour, Thomas, Bree Hughes and VanHoy all return, and Abby Hagwood and Jai Daniels have seen action as well. Jackson’s younger sister, Bailey, also will be fighting for playing time after moving up from the middle school.
When Mount Airy played Gray Stone Day on Thursday, Kniskern noticed that the team didn’t have any seniors, so that squad could be the top team in the preseason poll next year.
The Bears led the coaches poll the entire season, and five of the players reached at least the semifinals of the individual singles and doubles tournament last week.