Cleveland's Wonde forfeits final
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 27, 2012 1:48 PM
The highly-anticipated match between the top two singles players on the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference boys' tennis scene never materialized Thursday afternoon.
No one certainly expected the bizarre ending.
Eastern Wayne junior Chaz Fitzpatrick retained his singles championship with an injury default over Cleveland freshman Soren Wonde on the John Allen Farfour Courts at Herman Park. A 16-year-old German exchange student, Wonde injured his right arm in a three-set, semifinal-round win over the Warriors' Russell Turner.
"I really didn't want it to end like that," Fitzpatrick said. "Everyone was looking forward to that match. I hated that it happened and it was disappointing. Hopefully, we'll get to play each other in the regional."
Along with Fitzpatrick and Turner, Wayne County will take a caravan of players to the N.C. High School Athletic Association eastern regional next week at Barton College. Joining their Warrior teammates will be Mitchell Kaspar in singles and the doubles tandem of Steven Taylor-Cole Newsome.
Will Hoff-Michael Kearney, who claimed the ECC doubles title, and teammates Addison Vail-Austin Walker will represent Aycock. Southern Wayne will take its No. 1 doubles team of Brandon Outlaw-Alan Nunez.
"Will and Michael played really in the last two sets," Golden Falcons head coach Luke Vail said. "I thought to their credit the one thing they changed was being more consistent on return of serve and getting service points. We held serve at critical times, especially in the third set.
"Addison and Austin were more like their old selves ... played really sound from the baseline and made most of their net shots. They were in control both sets."
Cleveland's Wonde and Jesse Olmstead qualified for the two-day, single-elimination tournament.
"It was great to see such quality level high school tennis in eastern North Carolina," EW head coach Craig Hassell said. "Traditionally, Wayne County has developed some of the best eastern North Carolina high school tennis players and today was once again evidence of this quality play.
"Soren played a great match and would have set up a tremendous final between he and Chaz."
Fitzpatrick (17-0 overall) dropped just one game in three matches. He rolled past Cleveland's Thomas Baraldi and Triton's Lucas Baglioni by identical 6-0, 6-0 scores. He reeled off 10 consecutive games before losing a game to Olmstead in their semifinal-round match.
"I felt like I played better, especially on my serves," said Fitzpatrick, who ripped off 11 aces against Olmstead. "He's a really good guy and has improved a lot. I think the maturity level in the match was the difference because he plays other sports, too, and is not able to concentrate as much on tennis."
The top-seeded duo of Hoff-Kearney rallied from opening-set loss to defeat North Lenoir's regional-qualifying tandem of Evan Kramer-Chris Thaxton 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Taylor-Newsome bounced back to handed Outlaw-Nunez a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 loss in the third-place match. Vail-Walker claimed the ECC's final regional berth with a 6-1, 6-1 triumph over North Lenoir's Tyler Gray-Will Hardy.