The temperature hovered at 50 degrees and a sporadic drizzle dampened the courts on Saturday morning at the Cary Tennis Park, host of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1A girls tennis individual championships.
But with Cary Tennis Park having recently added an indoor facility, there were no postponements. Play was moved indoors, allowing the 2018 season’s 1A state singles and doubles champions to be crowned. Conditions were dry and the temperature controlled to play on.
In singles, Research Triangle (Research Triangle Park, N.C.) freshman Sabrina Grewal defeated Gray Stone Day (Misenheimer, N.C.) sophomore Emma Bost, 6-2, 6-1.
In doubles competition, Raleigh Charter seniors Camryn McClure and Emma Rowe beat Abigail Martin and Sarah Mann of East Surry (Pilot Mountain, N.C.), 6-1, 6-1.
Grewal wasn’t sure what to expect in her first year of high school tennis, but she hoped she could earn all-state honors and maybe advance to the singles final.
She did better than that in her first try. Grewal defeated Bost, 6-2, 6-1.
“I was excited about playing high school tennis,” Grewal said. “I knew I would be playing the best players in North Carolina in my division.”
For Bost, it was her second straight year as the 1A state runner-up.
“It’s frustrating, but I played better than I did last year,” Bost said. “She is a really tough player. I fought every point, but she kept hitting the ball back to me. She is like a backboard. It was a better overall experience against a tougher opponent.”
Grewal is not only a precocious talent; she is advanced at strategy.
“I tried not to overpower her, because I know she can hit the ball hard,” Grewal said. “I just tried to play smart and grind it out. I tried to create my own pace to my advantage instead of playing at her pace. … People ask me what is my favorite part of tennis. I say strategy. I think it’s a fun aspect of tennis.”
Finals, Saturday: Sabrina Grewal (Research Triangle) def. Emma Bost (Gray Stone Day), 6-2, 6-1.
Semifinals, Saturday matches: Sabrina Grewal (Research Triangle) def. Leah Nance (East Wilkes), 6-0, 6-0; Emma Bost (Gray Stone Day) def. Hannah Jenne (Polk County) 6-1, 6-1.
First round, Friday matches: Hannah Jenne (Polk County) def. Abby Armistead (Franklin Academy) 6-1, 6-4; Emma Bost (Gray Stone Day) def. Georgia Lee (Lejeune) 6-3, 6-1; Sabrina Grewal (Research Triangle) def. Anderson Schubert (Pine Lake Prep) 6-3, 6-4; Leah Nance (East Wilkes) def. Vedika Birla (Raleigh Charter) 7-5, 6-2.
A year ago, Raleigh Charter’s Camyrn McClure and Emma Rowe were state semifinalists, McClure in singles and Emma Rowe in doubles. Having come close to a state title, the two seniors decided to team up to finish their quests before they graduated.
“I wanted to play doubles with her because she’s good at the net and I’m good at the baseline,” said McClure. “Neither one of us got past the semis, so it feels great to win. We determined this was our best opportunity.”
Rowe was an available partner since her 2017 teammate had graduated.
“We’ve been good friends in high school, and I thought our games were complementary,” Rowe said. “She’s also a good server and can set me up. We’ve worked hard all four years, so it’s a great win.”
Another reason they were a good tandem is both felt they were well conditioned for a semifinal and final match in the same day. The original schedule called for the semis to be played on Friday.
“I like to run a lot outside of tennis,” Rowe said. “I felt better prepared to take on two matches than I was last year.”
Added McClure, “I play a lot of USTA on weekends, so I’m used to playing two tough matches in a day. It helped.”
Final results, Saturday: Camryn McClure & Emma Rowe (Raleigh Charter) def. Abigail Martin & Sarah Mann (East Surry), 6-1, 6-1.
Semifinals results, Saturday matches: Abigail Martin & Sarah Mann (East Surry) def. Claire Rogers & Lydia Cortes (Bishop McGuinness), 6-1, 6-1; Camryn McClure & Emma Rowe (Raleigh Charter) def. Grace Kuechler & Sophia Taffet (Pine Lake Prep), 6-1, 6-1.
First round result, Friday matches: Abigail Martin & Sarah Mann (East Surry) def. Jessica Copeland & Lilly Boyce (Edenton Holmes) 6-2, 6-1; Claire Rogers & Lydia Cortes (Bishop McGuinness) vs. Cami Hughes & Taylor Hughes (Chatham Central) 6-1, 6-1; Camryn McClure & Emma Rowe (Raleigh Charter) def. Lauren Rakes & Katie Stokes (East Wilkes) 6-1, 6-2; Grace Kuechler & Sophia Taffet (Pine Lake Prep) def. Ashlynn Stephan & Niamh Stephan (Franklin Academy) 6-2, 6-3.