Vail cops league's top accolade
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 22, 2009 1:47 PM
To no one's surprise, Charles B. Aycock junior Blake Vail earned the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference men's tennis player-of-the-year award for the third consecutive season.
Vail claimed his third straight ECC singles championship and made his third straight appearance in the N.C. High School Athletic Association individual state tournament. A three-year varsity starter, Vail is 85-4 during his career with the Golden Falcons.
"I am super proud of Blake," said Aycock head coach Kevin Coghill. "He's worked really hard and has improved every year. He just had that one hiccup (in the regional) and I think that helped him get motivated for next season.
"He is already talking about working harder this summer."
Vail is 85-4 in his career with the Golden Falcons.
Joining Vail on the all-conference team are fellow Golden Falcons Addison Westbrook and Dylan Quinn. Westbrook teamed with Ben Nichols to capture the ECC doubles crown, while Quinn advanced to the eastern regionals with doubles mate Rawad Alawar.
"Addison is a super-talented kid," said Coghill. "He's matured a lot with his body this year, is hitting the ball harder and coming to the net to put shots away. Dylan is just a workhorse, gives it 100 percent and a lot of that is heart."
Coghill seized league coach-of-the-year honors after guiding Aycock to its second straight ECC title and 17th overall in program history. Coghill's teams have compiled a three-year record of 51-14, including a 28-2 worksheet against ECC opposition in regular-season play.
"I am proud of my guys," said Coghill. "I think I'm lucky to have players who are talented and want to work hard. That just makes me look really good as a coach."
Seniors Eric Barnes and Will Kastner represent Eastern Wayne on the 12-player team selected by the league coaches. The duo are the lone holdovers from a Warriors' squad which reached the NCHSAA 3-A eastern dual-team final in 2007.
Barnes and Kastner helped guide Eastern Wayne to 36 league victories during their career and four consecutive trips to the NCHSAA dual-team playoffs.
The Warriors also received the ECC Team Sportsmanship Award.
"Eric was at every match and practice this year ... a stable figure who brought experience from a mostly-young, inexperienced team," said first-year Warriors head coach Craig Hassell. "Will was a very strong player at No. 6 this year. Winning the sportsmanship award means a lot to me. It says that our players and coaches, as well as our conference, respects our fair play.
"This is a strong character-builder that I share with the NCHSAA and a lesson for life in general."
Junior Kobi Hood and teammate Benny Segura garnered all-conference recognition from Southern Wayne. The duo led the Saints to a nine-win season and third-place tie with Wilson Beddingfield in ECC regular-season play.
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