05/06/13 — Prep tennis players advance to finals

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Prep tennis players advance to finals

By From staff reports
Published in Sports on May 6, 2013 1:47 PM

WILSON -- A small contingent of players will represent Wayne County on the singles and doubles scenes during the season-ending N.C. High School Athletic Association tennis state championships next weekend.

Eastern Wayne seniors Chaz Fitzpatrick and Mitch Kaspar advanced to the Class 3-A tournament in Burlington. Rosewood's Dylan Cuddington and Goldsboro's tandem of Tyler Lane-Josh Matias will battle in the Class 1-A tournament in Cary.

Fitzpatrick's reign as three-time eastern champion ended with a 6-0, 6-4 loss to South Central's Jon O'Neal in the finals at Barton College. Fitzpatrick suffered his first defeat in 20 outings this season and is 38-2 overall in set play.

"Chaz has been our number one player all four years ... our rock," EW head coach Craig Hassell said. "Chaz is a tremendous player and a fantastic young man who demonstrates the true meaning of scholar-athlete -- a leader in the classroom and on the court, a vital part of the program's success."

Kaspar fell to O'Neal in the semifinals and enters the state tournament as the No. 4 seed.

"I am so proud and happy for Mitchell," Hassell said. "He has shown great maturity and senior leadership this season. Mitchell has progressed each year and this is the culmination of hard work and dedication."

Charles B. Aycock's doubles of Chas Hooks-Jackson Yelverton eliminated White Oak's tandem of Mason Russell-Matthew Budd 6-1, 6-4 in the opening round. But the Golden Falcons fell to Fike's Thomas Smith-Drayton Williams in quarterfinal-round play.

Cuddington drew an opening-round bye and experienced little trouble defending his 1-A regional singles crown. He lost just three games in back-to-back victories over Voyager Academy's Harrison Stone (semifinals) and Martin Riverside's Chase Conner (finals).

Teammates Fouad Ismail-Nathan Tubb endured a heart-breaking, three-set loss to Pender in the first round at Herman Park.

Lane-Matias escaped an opening-round scare and clinched their state-championship berth with a three-set decision over Riverside's Luke Jarrett-Rashad Williams 6-1, 1-6, 6-3. Lane-Matias dropped their final two matches and will enter play at Cary as the east's No. 4 seed.