Mount Airy High School and Middle School will host the Northwest Conference tennis tournament today and tomorrow.
Weather permitting, all the quarterfinal matches start at 4:30 p.m.
The 1A singles and doubles matches will be at the high school, while the 2A schools face off at the middle school.
Because there are only three 2A schools in the Northwest, just six entrants are in the eight-man brackets for both singles and doubles play. That means the top two seeds get a bye for the quarterfinals.
Lucas Shelton, West Stokes, is the defending 2A champ and gets the top seed. North Surry’s Samuel Holder gets the other bye.
Third-seed Andrew Holmes, West Stokes, takes on sixth-seed Trevor Smith, Surry Central. Fourth-seed Corbin-Willard, North Surry, takes on fifth-seed Alex Fowler, Surry Central.
Both North Surry and Surry Central have their top players in doubles play this year.
Central’s Luke Haymore and Colby Chilton get the top seed and the first-round bye. North’s Brandon Orndorff will team with Austin Barker and get the second bye.
Central’s Zach Wilmoth and Trent Day get the third seed and play Jordan Mitchell and Sam Elter, West Stokes.
Jacob Covington and David Gravitt, West Stokes, face Ryan Critz and D.J. Boyles in the other opening match.
The 1A side has the stiffest competition this year as Bishop McGuinness and Mount Airy went 22-2 combined in the conference, with the only two losses coming against each other.
Leading the singles bracket is Matt Kessler, the defending 1A champion. He won the singles title as a freshman and junior and took the doubles title as a sophomore with Brooks Mayberry. He and Mayberry went on to take the state title in 2010.
Getting the number-two seed is talented sophomore Naveed Foroudi, Bishop, who was second last year and nearly made the state finals as well.
Third is East Surry top seed Tyler Yandell, who has battled tennis elbow all season.
Fourth is South Stokes’ number one Ephrain Harrell. While the Sauras struggled mightily this season, Harrell and teammate Matt Chilton were bright spots. Chilton has the sixth seed and faces Yandell. Harrell plays East’s Austin Johnson.
Kessler plays Bishop’s Zack Jones, who has been in and out of the Villains’ top six. Foroudi plays Mount Airy freshman Justin Leonard.
In doubles play, Mount Airy’s Mitch Kessler and Jordan Lawson are the top seeds after going 12-1 together this season. Their only loss came when they split with Bishop’s Kevin Weckworth and Alex Gundlach.
According to the brackets, however, Weckworth will not play with Gundlach this week, but rather third-seed Lane Kiser. They are the second seeds for the tournament.
Kessler/Lawson will face South Stokes’ Blake Embree and Dylan Fulp in the first round, while the Bishop pair face the Sauras’ Tyler Bullins and Drew Hicks.
East Surry’s two doubles teams are ranked third and fifth.
The threes are Cody Moser and Cory Smith, while Brody Gentry and Andrew Zachman are the five seeds.
Moser/Smith face the Bears’ Taylor Bobbitt and Will Pfitzner. Bobbitt and Pfitzner are seniors who starred on the soccer team and joined the tennis squad after the opener.
Coach Rodney Pell said Bobbitt and Pfitzner haven’t played together this season, but between them they have a doubles record of 19-3. He thinks the two will make a good pairing.
Gentry/Zachman face off with Bishop’s Conor Wilson and Michael Domabyl.
Notably missing from the tournament are Bishop’s Gundlach and East’s Dallas Hartley, who was the team’s second seed before quitting late in the year.
Reach Jeff Linville at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 719-1920.