CARY — Mount Airy’s quest for the team state championship in tennis will resume next week, but the Bears’ run at the individual singles and doubles titles came to an end on Friday afternoon.
The team’s top singles player, Hunt Harrison, and the doubles team of Harrison Morris and Gentry Williamson had both earned spots in the NCHSAA 1A state individual tournament held this weekend at the Cary Tennis Center, but both entries were knocked out in the opening round.
In the first individual state finals where Mount Airy was represented in both singles and doubles since 2012, Harrison came closest to moving on. The junior was pitted against East Regional champion Jim Davis of Riverside High School in Martin County, and appeared to have him on the ropes in the first set. Harrison earned a break to lead 3-2 and then got a second one to lead 5-2. He needed to win just one more game in the next three to take the set, but Davis held serve both times and also broke Harrison twice to take the lead. The latter finally held at 6-6 to force a tiebreaker, where he lost the first three points before fighting back to lead 4-3 and finally 6-5, but lost the set point and then the next two to drop the set. Davis now had all of the momentum in the match and won the second set easily for a 7-6 (8-6), 6-1 victory.
Morris and Williamson had to face one of the toughest teams in the other half of the draw, Brandon Wacaser and Arjun Juniga of Raleigh Charter, and lost in straight sets, 6-1, 6-1. The Bear team lost the first three games of each set and was not able to recover in either.
The loss was only the third of the season for Williamson, the lone senior in the Mount Airy starting lineup. He now has a personal record of 26-3 with various doubles partners this season.
All three players will return to action on Monday, when the team hosts Lincoln Charter in the third round of the 1A dual-team playoffs at the Bears’ courts.