PILOT MOUNTAIN — With storm clouds looming in the distance, Mount Airy’s tennis team had plenty of incentive to take care of business against Northwest 1A Conference rival East Surry as quickly as possible.
As it turned out, the Granite Bears completed all but one match before the rain arrived on the Cardinals’ courts in Pilot Mountain, and while the young East Surry team has been more competitive in recent matches, they’re still not the equal of the young but ascending Bears, who have the undisputed conference lead after downing Bishop McGuinness last week.
With the No. 2 doubles match still on the court, Monday’s match was called off with Mount Airy already leading in the team tally. The state’s seventh-ranked team duly improved to 11-1 overall and 4-0 in conference play.
The Bears, who had played at full strength just once in their last five matches, were able to do so against the Cardinals, and swept the singles matches with no player losing more than two games. Two Mount Airy players shut out their opponent, three others lost just one game, and one dropped two.
In the singles, Hunt Harrison defeated Ryan Sigmon 6-0, 6-1; Emory Bray downed Ryan Presnell 6-1, 6-0; Hunter Eaton defeated A.J. Key 6-0, 6-2; Owen Perkins beat Brady Jessup 6-1, 6-0, and the Nos. 5 and 6 Bears, Kaleb Morrison and Cayden Hill, scored shutouts over Nathan Cox and Eli Gray, respectively. Eaton, who was returning to the lineup after being sick, closed out the fifth singles win to clinch the team win for Mount Airy.
In the doubles, Harrison and Bray teamed up for an 8-0 win over Presnell and Key at No. 1 doubles. Perkins and Hill, playing at No. 3, were up 6-0 on Cox and Gray when the latter held serve, but that didn’t keep the Bear duo from winning out for the 8-1 win. At No. 2 doubles, Sigmon and Jessup won a break at 1-2 against Eaton and Morrison, but the Mount Airy duo recovered and was leading 5-3 when the storm forced the match to be suspended.
The Bears will host North Surry on Wednesday evening, while the Cardinals host Bishop on Thursday.