Dominant all spring as the NCHSAA No. 1 tennis team in North Carolina’s 2A classification, Carrboro has continued to net big wins in the post-season.
The Jaguars have barely broken a sweat so far in the N.C. High School Athletics Association’s dual-team tournament and, Friday afternoon in Cary, the Carrboro doubles team of junior Max Fritsch and sophomore Jacob Zinn won the 2A championship in the NCHSAA’s individuals’ tournament.
“They really, really stepped it up in the finals and played some great tennis,” Carrboro tennis head coach Jon Noyes said. “They faced some really good competition in the tournament, and they played solid the entire way — never letting any bump in the road bother them.”
Fritsch and Zinn topped the North Lenoir team of Evan Kramer and William Hardy of North Lenoir in the championship match, 6-1, 6-0, Friday at Cary Tennis Center to become the first individual champions for Carrboro. They reached the final by defeating Salisbury’s Clint Camadoll and Story Spencer, 6-2, 6-0, in the state semifinals.
In Thursday’s round’s Fritsch and Zinn beat Wilkes Central’s Parker Jordan and Kevin Reynolds by a 6-3, 6-2 score to set up a quarterfinal with Newton-Conover’s Tyler Barrymore and Gordon Wepner. A Newton-Conover team had won the NCHSAA doubles title for three years running, but Fritsch and Zinn dispatched the Red Devil entry — albeit in their closest match of the tournament — 6-2, 7-5.
Carrboro’s Aaron Hiller and Paul Flournoy also qualified for the championship tournament with their runner-up finish in last weekend’s Mideast Regional. They survived an exhausting 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (4) battle with previously unbeaten David Ryu and Hunter Dean of Trinity (11-1) in the round of 16, but then stumbled against the relatively fresh team of Cre Still and Chris Wilson from Brevard, 6-4, 6-2, in the quarterfinals.
Carrboro’s Brian Freiburghouse — the state’s 2A runner-up in singles last year — made it to Friday’s semifinals before being eliminated by Michael Ogden of Salisbury, 6-4, 6-4. Ogden was undefeated in varsity matches heading into the finals.
Freiburghouse reached the semis by outlasting Grant Buckner of Burnsville Mountain Heritage 6-2, 3-6, 6-2, in the quarterfinals.
Carrboro teammate Jason Wykoff, who Freiburghouse defeated last weekend to claim the NCHSAA Mideast Regional title, fell in the state 2A’s round of 16 to Cameron Clemons of Central Academy, 6-1, 6-1.
All of the Jaguars now turn their attention to Tuesday’s third round of the NCHSAA dual-team tournament, where they’ll face undefeated Croatan (19-0) in a road test in Newport. Carrboro (13-2) has not lost to a 2A this year, and the Jaguars have yet to drop a set in defeating North Johnston 5-0 and Trinity 5-0 in the tournament’s first two rounds.
“We’re excited to still be in the state tournament,” Noyes said. “I like the way we’re playing, especially now that we’ve had some competition under our belt.”
Under-estimated, Chapel Hill just keeps on winning
Twenty-four teams entered the NCHSAA 3A dual-team tournament with either more wins or fewer losses than Chapel Hill this spring. All the more reason for the Tigers to feel good about being one of eight teams still alive in the playoffs’ quarterfinals.
Chapel Hill (16-4) plays Tuesday at Big East champion Southern Nash (21-4). After the competition the Tigers have faced so far, another road win doesn’t seem like an unreasonable challenge.
“We’ve done well,” Chapel Hill head coach Neil Alderman said last week. “Our only losses this year have been to No. 1 teams.”
Chapel Hill lost twice to 3A No. 1-ranked Cardinal Gibbons, once (narrowly) to the 2A’s top-ranked Carrboro, and to East Chapel Hill, which held the 4A’s No. 1 ranking earlier in the season.
The two losses to Big Eight Conference rival Gibbons were the costliest, because they made Chapel Hill a No. 2 seed, thus requiring that the Tigers would spend the entire tournament on the road.
No matter. Chapel Hill took out top-10 Terry Sanford with a 7-2 decision in Fayetteville and then blanked Waccamaw Conference champion South Brunswick 6-0 Tuesday. Chris Chang, Bryan Zhang, Ryan Bradley, Jared Weber, David Mirzoyan and Lucas Prata all won their singles in straight sets in Southport, clinching the team win without doubles and making the match last shorter than the three-hour ride to Southport.
Chang and Zhang went on to play Thursday in the NCHSAA individual state championships, as did the CHHS doubles team of Alex Walker and Ashwin Bhargava. Zhang got as far as the state semifinals before losing a grueling, two-and-one-half hour battle with Swansboro’s undefeated Anthony Brennan, 7-6, 6-1, on Friday; the first set alone last 90 minutes, Alderman said.
“I’m proud of Bryan,” Alderman said. “Just getting to the last day of the tournament was something extra.”
Brennan was 19-0 in singles heading into the NCHSAA final against Robert Kelly of cardinal Gibbons, the state 3A defending singles champion.
Chang reached the 3A round of 16 before losing to Asheboro’s Austin Allen, 6-3, 6-2. Walker and Bhargava likewise fell in the round of 116, with a 6-2, 6-2 loss to Avanish Madhavaram and Hayden Wohlfarth of Marvin Ridge.