’24 a rebuilding year for Davie tennis

Published 11:44 am Tuesday, May 14, 2024

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

Going into 2024, the Davie boys tennis program was riding an incredible streak – 18 straight non-losing seasons and 13 straight winning seasons.

But things fell apart this year as the War Eagles were forced to work without a single senior. They tasted their first losing record since 2005 with five juniors, three sophomores and two freshmen sharing playing time.

Tabor 5, Davie 4

The end of the regular season was rough, starting with a 5-4 home loss to Mt. Tabor on April 12. It was the same score as the matchup on March 11, except the first meeting went Davie’s way.

“Mt. Tabor didn’t like the way we handled them over there, and to their credit, they came over here determined,” coach Shane Nixon said.

The Davie winners in singles were No. 3 Hayden Key (6-4, 4-2 retired), No. 4 Brady Carter (7-5, 6-0) and No. 6 Barrett Taylor (6-2, 6-4). Carter/Max Rappaport won 9-7 at No. 3 doubles.

“Hayden, Brady and Barrett are each in their own way working on stellar seasons,” Nixon said. “What a year Hayden is having. Brady is a freshman, playing in the CPC, in the top four every match, and his only loss is outside CPC play.”

Reagan 7, Davie 2

Reagan made the trip from Pfafftown and mashed everyone except Taylor (6-4, 5-7, 10-8 win at No. 6 singles) and Carter/Rappaport (8-5 win at No. 3 doubles).

“Barrett played a heck of a match at six,” Nixon said. “We  had a doubles match almost done by the time he finished.

“Max and Brady keep finding ways to win. They make me feel good about the future of our program.”

West 8, Davie 1

The final regular-season match at West Forsyth felt all too familiar. The War Eagles would have been a huge underdog at 100 percent. With several guys out, there’s no other way this one was going to turn out.

The lone win came at No. 3 doubles from Jackson Hepler/Owen Tomlinson (8-4).

“We had four guys absent, including three of the top seven,” Nixon said. “West is easily the best team in the CPC, so not a good combination.

“I loved that Jackson and Owen didn’t just mail it in. Good win by them.”

CPC Tournament

Juniors Grayson Busse and Taylor and sophomore Hepler all went 1-1 in the Central Piedmont Conference Tournament on April 23.

Busse won 10-0 before losing 10-1. Taylor won 10-0 before losing 10-0. And Helper won 10-7 before losing 10-0.

“Grayson had a tough year playing about two seeds over his level,” Nixon said. “I’m proud that he kept trying and playing hard. I think he’ll make a good part of our team going forward.

“Barrett did what he’s done all year, and played a steady, consistent game. But the West Forsyth kid is really a good player. Barrett exemplifies our motto of being better off the court than on. He’s a great kid.

“Jackson jumped on (a player from Reynolds) early and really never let up. This was as good a set as Jackson has played  all year.”

Juniors Zach Hill and Key lost 10-0 in the first round of doubles. It was the same outcome for freshmen Carter and Rappaport, who fell 10-6 in doubles.

“I’m proud of the effort (from Hill/Key),” Nixon said. “They had a tough draw – learn from this and get better.

“Both (Carter and Rappaport) are freshmen, so this was about experience and getting a chance to play in a tournament format. I feel strongly these two will have better days.”

At this point in the season, Key was 8-5 while playing the top three spots in singles; Carter was 10-3 at Nos. 3-4; Hepler was 8-6 at four/five; and Taylor was 9-5 at five/six. In doubles, Carter/Rappaport were 10-3 while playing one, two and three.

LN 6, Davie 0

In the first round of the 4-A playoffs, Davie ran into overwhelming talent at Lake Norman. The Wildcats extended the War Eagles’ losing streak to four and left them with a final record of 7-8.