Members of the tennis teams from Mount Airy, Surry Central and East Surry learned what roadblocks will be on their path to a state dual-team championship when the NCHSAA announced the pairings on Monday afternoon.
The Lady Bears, the state’s top-ranked 1A team with a 23-1 record, earned a first-round bye as expected, and will not play their first playoff match until Nov. 1, when they will host the winner of an opening-round match between East Wilkes (14-5) and Bishop McGuinness (13-4). Mount Airy is 4-0 against these teams, having beaten the Cardinals 9-0 on Aug. 15 and 8-1 on Sept. 12, and downing Bishop, the state’s fourth-ranked 1A team, 5-4 on Aug. 30 and 6-3 on Sept. 22.
East Surry, which tied Bishop for second in the Northwest 1A Conference this season, is hosting an opening-round match as the third seed in the West Regional. The Lady Cardinals (16-3), ranked sixth in the 1A ranks, will host Starmount, the sixth seed with an overall 8-7 mark, today at 4 p.m. The teams did not meet during the regular season.
The winner of the East Surry-Starmount match will visit second-seeded Pine Lake Prep (8-2-1), champion of the Southern Piedmont Conference, on Nov. 1. Pine Lake hasn’t lost a match since Aug. 25, but the Pride has only played seven times since then, and not since Oct. 4.
Third-round matches in the 1A will be played on Nov. 3 at the higher seed.
The top seeds in the other half of the 1A West draw are Elkin (15-4) and North Stanly (12-1-1), ranked eighth and ninth in the state, respectively. However, the highest-ranked team in that half of the draw is No. 5 Chatham Charter (13-3), the fourth seed in the top half of the West bracket.
Despite winning a fourth straight Western Piedmont 2A title, Surry Central’s tough schedule hurt it during the seeding process, and the Lady Eagles will have to open the state playoffs on the road. The Lady Eagles (12-6) will travel to East Burke (6-2), the third seed and winner of the 2A portion of the South Mountain 2A/3A Conference, today at 4 p.m. East Burke is the third seed and Central the sixth in the upper half of the 2A West draw.
The winner of that match will take on the winner of second-seeded Lake Norman Charter (11-0) and West Lincoln (11-2) in a Nov. 1 second-round match. Lake Norman is the state’s top-ranked 2A team.
Pairings for the individual state tennis championships were also announced on Monday. Surry Central’s top two doubles teams both qualified, and both found out their first-round opponents for the tournament, which takes place Friday and Saturday at Cary Tennis Park in Cary.
Anna Senter and Hannah Pardue, who were Central’s No. 2 doubles team but placed second overall at regionals, will open up with Sarah Morse and Marshall Phillips of Siler City Jordan-Matthews, a school that Central didn’t play this season. The Lady Eagles’ top doubles team, Sarah Wyble and Hope Hinson, who placed third at regionals, will face Cameron Grace Brown and Carrie Anne Brown of Barlett-Yancey, also an unfamiliar opponent.
If each Central team were to win its first two matches, they would face each other again in the tournament semifinals on Saturday.