04/30/09 — Wayne County dominates ECC tennis

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Wayne County dominates ECC tennis

By Staff Reports
Published in Sports on April 30, 2009 1:47 PM

SNOW HILL -- Jeremy Merritt spoiled the party.

Kinston's top singles player, Merritt emerged the lone non-Wayne County participant to advance to second-day competition in the season-ending Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference men's tennis tournament.

Merritt, the No. 3 seed, claimed straight-set victories over Southern Wayne's Brandon Outlaw and Hunt's Kenny Hertling. He'll meet second-seeded Russell Turner from Eastern Wayne in semifinal-round action which begins at 2 p.m. today on the Snow Hill Tennis Complex courts.

A freshman, Turner dropped just two games in back-to-back victories over Hunt's Justin Walker and Harry Lamm. Turner improved to 13-3 overall this season.

Two-time defending ECC singles champion Blake Vail breezed into the semifinals without shutout victories over Kinston's Jaron Upton and Beddingfield's Eduardo Picasso. A junior, Vail remained perfect in 38 meetings against ECC opponents in regular-season and tournament play in his career.

Vail faces Southern Wayne's Kobi Hood, who upset fourth-seeded Aaron Dunmire of Eastern Wayne 7-5, 7-5 in the quarterfinals. Hood stopped Hunt's Robert Shick in quarterfinal-round play.

All four players -- Merritt, Turner, Vail and Hood -- have earned spots in the N.C. High School Athletic Association eastern regionals. The two-day event is May 8 and 9 at the Barton College Tennis Complex in Wilson.

A mere eight teams entered the doubles competition and Wayne County dominated.

Aycock's tandems of Addison Westbrook-Ben Nichols and Dylan Quinn-Rawad Alawar seized a regional berth. Westbrook-Nichols eliminated Quinn-Alawar in the semifinals and face Eastern Wayne's tandem of Eric Barnes-Mike Barnette for the championship today.

Barnes-Barnette, the No. 3 seed, upended teammates Joe DiCesare-Will Kastner in semifinal-round play. DiCesare-Kastner secured a regional spot with an opening-round upset of second-seeded Alex Ferrell-Nirav Patel of Beddingfield.