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By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 25, 2012 1:48 PM

While three teams huddled outside underneath shade trees and listened to their respective coaches' last-minute instructions, Rosewood gathered in the sun on court No. 1.

First-year head coach Clifton Greenup reminded his team to represent the school well and play hard. At the end of the day, he wasn't disappointed in the Eagles' performance ... at all.

Rosewood sophomore Dylan Cuddington emerged the singles champion and teammates Fouad Ismail-Daniel El Awar claimed the doubles title during the season-ending Carolina 1-A Conference tennis tournament contested at Herman Park on Tuesday afternoon. All three qualified for the N.C. High School Athletic Association eastern regional, which begins May 4.

The Eagles and regular-season champ Ayden-Grifton each collected eight points during the day-long tournament, but Greenup's team captured the championship due to its first-place wins.

Cuddington said Greenup's pre-game talk energized and sparked him to play well. He had little trouble throughout the afternoon and dropped just one game in three straight-set victories.

Unbeaten in 12 outings this season, Cuddington opened the tournament with a 6-0, 6-0 triumph over Spring Creek's JD Quick. He followed that with a 6-0, 6-0 decision against Ayden-Grifton's Matt Berg, who suffered his first defeat in 15 matches.

The victory set up a third meeting against Ayden-Grifton's Tom Stainback in the championship match. Cuddington handed Stainback a 6-0, 6-1 loss in the final and assured himself of a top seed in the regional.

"The strategy I like to use for him is I can tell when he's happy and when he's not," Cuddington said. "When I win a lot of points and get ahead of him early, he starts missing shots and serves and I can get into his head. But today he seemed really calm and he played pretty good, I thought.

"I didn't think I played too bad, but I could have played better. I hit some good shots and missed some, but hey, that's OK."

Bergs secured the league's final regional berth with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Spring Creek's Daniel Krentz.

Ismail-El Awar hadn't played together during the regular season and Greenup didn't regret his decision to pair them for the tournament. The tandem started the day with a straight-set shutout of Goldsboro's Vincent Spagnuolo-Anthony Dobson and handed Ayden-Grifton's Brandon Hunt-Brandon Armstrong a 6-1, 6-2 loss in the semifinals.

Ismail-El Awar turned back Goldsboro's Bernard Green-Robbie King 6-2, 6-2 in the finals. Green-King qualified for the regionals along with Hunt-Armstrong.

"This match came down to one thing and that was the lineup," Greenup said. "If we had not played Fouad and Daniel at doubles, we would have most likely lost the tournament (title)."