04/24/13 — Cuddington repeats as Carolina 1A singles champion

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Cuddington repeats as Carolina 1A singles champion

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 24, 2013 1:47 PM

Physically exhausted, Daniel Krentz leaned on the net as he shook Dylan Cuddington's hand while shadows slowly crept onto the John Allen Farfour Courts on Tuesday evening.

The two walked toward the bench. Cuddington grabbed an empty can and tracked down loose tennis balls. Krentz sipped from a water bottle and took a deep breath.

"I'm as tired as I've ever been in my whole life, no doubt," Krentz said. "I just told him that he plays the game the right way and I don't mind losing to him. He's a great player and has a bright future ahead of him."


The third-seeded Krentz played on fumes in his 6-0, 6-0 loss to Cuddington in the Carolina 1-A Conference singles championship. The Rosewood junior smartly moved Krentz around the court, which forced him to expend what little energy he had left in his tank.

Cuddington remained unbeaten in 15 outings this season and has lost just one game in six conference tournament matches since 2012. The two finalists, along with Ayden-Grifton senior Tom Stainback, clinched berths in the N.C. High School Athletic Association eastern regional.

Meanwhile, Rosewood successfully defended its team tournament championship when the doubles of Fouad Ismail-Nathan Tubb secured a 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 victory over Ayden-Grifton's top-seeded duo of Brandon Hunt-Brandon Armstrong. The Eagles compiled eight points, while the Chargers finished runners-up with five.

Regular-season co-champion Goldsboro took third with four points, followed by Spring Creek with three.

Krentz had never beaten Stainback in nine previous meetings.

Stainback looked to make it 10 straight with a first-set shutout. But Krentz took the opening game of the second set and built on that confidence point by point.

"I lost to him in a tie-break a couple of weeks ago and won the first set in that match," Krentz said. "I said to myself I didn't want to lose to him again. I knew if I could get him to a third set, I could beat him.

"I just had the drive to finish it out."

Cuddington watched from his chair as the upset unfolded.

Once the rest period ended, Cuddington and Krentz wasted little time warming up. Barely 40 minutes later, Cuddington repeated as the Carolina singles champion.

"I was getting anxious (waiting) because I really wanted to play bad," Cuddington said. "Since he had already played a three-set match, I figured he would already be tired so I wanted to wear him down even more.

"That gave me a good advantage in the match."

Ismail-Na. Tubb hadn't played together in doubles all season. The duo steam-rolled Ayden's Clayton Bjerkset-Dillon McCullen in the opening round and battled from behind to defeated Goldsboro's tandem of Tyler Lane-Vincent Spagnuolo 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 in the semifinals.

Ismail-Na. Tubb split sets with Hunt-Armstrong and picked up a couple of pivotal break points in the third set.

"It was a tough match that I felt like could have gone either way," RHS head coach Clifton Greenup said. "Our guys went out there today and fought hard. Today, you could tell this meant more to them.

"And you could tell that all the kids (from each school) wanted it and you could tell all the coaches wanted it. That was a good thing."

Ismail-Na. Tubb, Hunt-Armstrong and Goldsboro's Josh Matias-Jon Stevens each qualified for the regionals.