Gregory wins CPC tennis title

Published 9:31 am Thursday, May 4, 2017



We wondered how good the Davie tennis team’s Central Piedmont Conference season would get, and now we know.

After capturing the regular-title championship for the first time in 11 years, the War Eagles claimed the tournament title on April 26 at Reagan.

Although Davie did share first with Mt. Tabor – both teams had 18 points – it was Davie’s first tournament triumph in five years. Reynolds was third with 13 points, followed by Reagan (11), North Davidson (nine), West Forsyth (five) and Parkland (one).

“This team really put together a gritty tournament,” coach Shane Nixon said.

The top five finishers in singles and doubles earned regional berths.

Davie senior Elijah Gregory proved his CPC greatness. After finishing fifth as a freshman, fourth as a sophomore and second as a junior, he took the next step and became Davie’s first singles champ since Scott Gallimore in 2012.

That Gregory won was no surprise. But his scores – he blasted three opponents 32-0 – were dominance personified.

“To think one could go through a CPC Tournament and not lose a single game – forget a set or a match – that is simply unheard of,” Nixon said. “I asked a couple of long-tenured coaches if they’d seen anything like that. Quickly they all answered ‘No.’ It was clinical and tactical. He was simply on a mission.”

After receiving a first-round bye, Gregory whipped Trevor Robertson, North’s No. 1 seed, by a 10-0 score. He did the same to Elliot Copeland, the No. 2 seed from Reynolds, in the semifinals. In the finals, he blanked Grayson Lievens, the No. 1 seed from Reynolds, by 6-0, 6-0.

“What do you say that hasn’t been said?” Nixon said. “He and I talked about the two or three things absent in his spectacular resume, one being a CPC championship. You could see in the way he was warming up that this was going to be tennis at a different level, even more than the normal Elijah excellence. One of his opponents, who will likely play college tennis next year, asked me: ‘What had gotten into Elijah?’ I am telling you, his excellence was scary good.”

As the only War Eagle to advance to the Midwest Regional, Gregory pushed his legendary record to 20-0.

“I’ve said it before, we use the word ‘great’ far too often,” Nixon said. “But in this case it applies. Elijah is the greatest tennis player in Davie County history.”


When Nixon glanced over at Sam Jordan, he looked to be playing out of character. As it turned out, there was good reason. He was suffering from strep throat. But the senior plowed forward admirably and went 2-2.

He opened with a 10-4 win over Isaac Harding, the No. 2 seed from West. “Sam picking up that point was huge,” Nixon said.

In the second round, however, Jordan lost 10-3 to North’s top seed, Nathan Berrier.

“Berrier is probably the most improved player in the CPC,” Nixon said. “The match wasn’t as competitive as Sam could make it. But again, knowing what we know now, you have to admire Sam’s toughness.”

Jordan kept fighting, winning 10-5 over Tabor’s No. 1 player in the first round of the back draw. But in the match for the fifth and final regional berth, Jordan didn’t have enough oomph, losing 10-7 to Pavan Meka, the No. 1 seed from West. Jordan, who went 13-7 for the season, finished one spot out in sixth.

“I could tell he didn’t have a ton in the tank against (Meka),” Nixon said. “But he gritted it out and was really close to qualifying for regionals.

“Sam mentioned that he was ‘feeling a little tired’ to start the tournament. We found out (the next day) that he has strep throat. For him to go 2-2 knowing now that he had a fever, you simply can’t explain how much guts that shows. Sam and I have a unique relationship. He really is like a son to me, and I wouldn’t be more proud of him if he had won the thing, especially knowing he was really sick.”


Junior Ben Fouts and freshman Ben Fleming went 1-2 in doubles, gaining a critical team point in a 10-4 win over Reynolds’ No. 2 seed.

“When they beat Reynolds, Elijah was doing the math,” Nixon said. “He said: ‘That point is going to be a point that makes a difference.’”

Fouts/Fleming were steamrolling West’s No. 1 team, leading 7-1. But the Titans pulled off a magic trick to beat the Davie pair 11-9. It was painful, costing the War Eagles a regional berth.

“They simply couldn’t get it done and there is no shame in that,” Nixon said. “The team from West is really good and played No. 1 for them all year. (Fouts and Fleming) got a tough draw, playing Reynolds in the first round and then drawing not just West’s No. 1 doubles entry but its acutal No. 1 team.”

In the back draw, Fouts/Fleming lost 10-4 to Reagan, ending their season with a 9-7 record.

“That (11-9 loss) took a lot out of them, and they didn’t have much left for the Reagan match,” Nixon said. “But they delivered what we needed. They put themselvs in a position to do even more, and while it didn’t pan out, they played really well. While I was disappointed after being that close to taking two more kids to regionals, I was so proud of the effort these two gave.”


Senior Wyatte Copeland and junior Ben Marklin hit a first-round roadblock, losing 10-6 to Mt. Tabor’s No. 2 team. They went 8-3 for the year.

“They were in a tough draw and made the higher-seeded Tabor team work,” Nixon said.

Notes: The War Eagles, who went 11-1 in the CPC regular season to beat Tabor and Reagan by two games, will carry a 17-1 record into the state dual team playoffs. … Even though Fouts is a junior, this is his final season wearing the orange and black. “His parents are moving to New York,” Nixon said. “He will graduate from Davie early in December.”