ELKIN — Mount Airy will be sending both a singles player and a doubles team to the state individual tennis championships.
The Granite Bears swept both the individual singles and doubles titles in the Northwest Conference Tournament last week, and everyone involved in that run took part in the 1A West Regional tournament on Friday and Saturday at Elkin Recreational Park. During the two-day tournament, Mount Airy’s doubles team of Harrison Morris and Gentry Williamson and singles player Hunt Harrison both finished in the top four and earned a spot in next week’s state championship meet.
Morris and Williamson, who hadn’t played as a team until the conference tournament, won two matches on Friday and already knew they were in the state finals when the day was completed. The only question is where they would finish and what seed they would earn for next week’s state meet.
The semifinal was against players from a team that Mount Airy has not faced this season, Pine Lake Prep. Oddly, the Pride’s Brian Forte and Alex Wrench surrendered two service breaks to the Bears in the first five games, but Morris and Williamson couldn’t hold serve either, and trailed 3-2 at that point. From there, Forte and Wrench took over the match and went on to a straight-set victory in which Morris and Williamson held serve just once.
The loss put them into the consolation bracket against a familiar foe. The Bishop McGuinness team of Lance Dittrich and Adam Chinnasami were Morris’ and Williamson’s victims in the semifinals of the Northwest tournament, which they won from the fourth seed. It had taken the Bears’ tandem three sets to defeat them. Ten days later, on a neutral court, they got the job done in only two, prevailing 7-6 (7-2), 6-2 to claim third place.
At first, it looked like Morris and Williamson would win easily. They took five of the first six games before the Villains battled back, scoring two service breaks and tying the set at 6-all. In the set tiebreaker, Dittrich and Chinnasami actually took a 2-1 lead, but then the Bears reeled off six straight points and the first set was theirs.
In the second set, Morris and Williamson against started fast, leading 3-1, but Bishop’s team held off four break points in the next game and eventually won it. However, this time the Bears didn’t let them back in the set. They held serve twice more and also earned two service breaks, winning the match when Morris hit a winner down the deuce alley.
In the singles semis and finals, the Bears’ Hunt Harrison didn’t have his best afternoon of tennis. Harrison, the Northwest singles champion, took on Ryan Macy of Elkin in the semifinal. Macy had beaten Harrison on March 1 in the season opener for both schools, and things weren’t much different in the rematch. Harrison earned two service breaks, but never held serve on his own and lost the match 6-1, 6-1. Later in the day, he played Jacob Wenzel, the top player for Community School of Davidson and the fourth overall seed in the regional, and lost 6-0, 6-2.
Harrison will play the top seed from the East Regional in the state tournament on May 13 in Cary.
The state individual championships will be held in Cary on May 13 and 14. Morris and Williamson will face the No. 2 seed from the East Regional, while
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.