The stage is set for what could be the most important postseason of Mount Airy boys’ tennis in several years.
Things get under way Monday afternoon, when the Northwest 1A Conference co-champion Granite Bears will take on Bishop McGuinness for a third time in order to determine which of the two teams will receive the top seed for the upcoming state playoffs. The teams swapped victories on the other’s home courts during the regular season, with Mount Airy (18-2, 7-1) defeating the Villains 7-2 on April 4 in Kernersville, but then losing 5-4 here three days later. It was the Bears’ only loss to date in which the team was playing with its full lineup.
The rubber match will take place on the neutral East Surry High School courts starting at 4 p.m.
Following that match, Mount Airy will be the host for the Northwest Conference Tournament, in which some of the top singles players and doubles teams from the league will compete for individual titles over two days on Tuesday and Wednesday. First-round matches in both the singles and doubles will be contested on Tuesday, with the semifinals and finals following the next day.
In the singles field, Mount Airy’s Hunt Harrison, with a personal record of 17-3, 7-1, is the top seed. He will face either Clayton Woody of Walkertown or Bishop’s Victor Cabone in a 6 p.m. match. The winner will face the winner of the 4-5 match between Atkins’ Josh Woodard and East Surry’s Daniel Hancock. Woodard and Hancock will contest the 4 p.m. match on Tuesday.
In the other half of the singles draw, Dillon Jennings of Atkins is the No. 2 seed and like Harrison, will face the winner of an early match. Bishop’s Luke Kreber and East Surry’s Lucas Bonilla will take the courts at 4 p.m. Tuesday in the 7-10 match for the right to play Jennings at 6:15.
The other match of the opening round features the Bears’ Emory Bray (18-2, 7-1) against third-seeded Jarod Gandy of Walkertown. they will play Tuesday at 4.
Both semifinals will be contested simultaneously at 4 p.m. Wednesday, with the championship and third-place matches following at 6.
The doubles tournament will be played on other courts at the same times as the various singles matches. Two Bishop teams, Lance Dittrich/Adam Chinnasami and Henry Kirby/Ivo Pestana, are the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds, respectively. Each will play their opening match at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
There is the potential for a local team to contest each of the Villains’ entries. The 8-9 match and the 7-10 match are both being contested at 4 on Tuesday. The former, for the right to face Dittrich and Chinnasami, pits eighth-seeded Ryan Sigmon and Ryan Sutterby of East Surry against Wesley Briles and Lucas Dickson of Walkertown. In the 7-10 battle, for the right to play Kirby and Pestana, seventh-seeded Grey Tucker and Owen Perkins of Mount Airy will play the Wolfpack’s Rich Lyons and Tucker Gowan.
The other two quarterfinal doubles also involve local teams. The Bears’ Harrison Morris and Gentry Williamson are the No. 4 seed in the event and will play Jonathan Grubbs and Anthony Dixon of Atkins. East Surry’s Austin Pardue and Brady Jessup are the sixth seeds and will challenge No. 3 Akshat Dixit and Arel D’Agostino of Atkins. Both matches will be contested at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
The doubles semifinals will take place at 4 p.m. Wednesday, with the championship and third-place matches at 6.
The first round of the dual-team playoffs is scheduled to take place on May 3. The individual regionals will be held on May 6-7, between the first and second dual-team rounds, with the individual championship slated for May 13-14, between the second and third dual-team rounds. The dual-team state championship match is scheduled for May 21.