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RADFORD –– The most exciting match of the day Wednesday, certainly the one with the most thrilling finish, was the one that had the least relevance, at least in the big picture.
With the Region C boys’ tennis championship already decided after Glenvar had won its fifth singles match at Radford University, Grayson County’s Jake Parnell and the Highlanders’ Will Dunkenberger were tied at a set apiece in the No. 3 match. With no real reason to continue other than pride, the two players decided that pride was motivation enough and that they didn’t want to leave the court in a tie.
Tournament officials allowed the third set to be played in tiebreaker fashion, first one to 10 points wins.
As if 10 were enough.
Dunkenberger and Parnell went at it for 37 points with neither able to get the necessary two-point lead until Dunkenberger finally pulled through on the 38th point for a 6-2, 2-6, 20-18 win, capping Glenvar’s 6-0 championship day.
Grayson County’s girls also came up short in their bid for a region title, falling to Radford 6-0.
“I’m very proud of the girls for winning the [Mountain Empire] district championship and making it to the region finals,” said Grayson County girls’ coach Betty Butler. “Radford is a solid team and they make very few mistakes. It was a good experience for us and I’m proud of the effort the girls showed.”
The Bobcats’ six straight-sets wins were a near mirror image of what the Grayson girls experienced in Tuesday’s semifinals, a 5-1 thrashing of George Wythe. Anna Turnmire put up a fight in her 6-4, 6-4 loss to Carley Frye, but the Blue Devils still wrapped up the team win without having to go to doubles play. Lucy Phipps, Laura Shearin, Megan Finklea, Alisha Bost and Shannon Gamble all pulled off two-set wins, including a tough 6-4, 7-5 win by Finklea in the No. 4 match.
With a long history of success in girls’ tennis, the Blue Devils seemed primed for another run, as five of the top seven players will return for next season.
The history of success enjoyed by the Grayson boys’ team stretches all the way back to last month, when the Devils clinched their first MED team championship. They followed that with their first appearance in the region finals after walloping George Wythe 6-0 on Tuesday. Garrett Bailey, Mike Vaughan, Parnell, Ben Horton, Grayson Holdaway and Matt Waller gave up a total of 12 games in the six matches, including a forfeit win by Waller at No. 6.
Glenvar proved too tough for the Devils in the final, taking the 6-0 win.
Garrett Bailey and Mike Vaughan were able to get on the court in a doubles match against the Highlanders’ Tim Howard and Nick Trinchere, although in the doubles finals. The Glenvar pair took a 6-0, 6-1 win for that championship.
The Blue Devils will return nearly intact to defend their title next year, as Horton is the lone senior.
“I’m very proud of these young men,” Grayson coach Jim Carter said. “Five of my top six are sophomores and we expect to be back here next year. Everybody did a fine job. Glenvar is mostly seniors, we’re sophomores and we’ll be there one day. This was good for us.”
Region C tennis championships
at Radford University
Grayson County 5, George Wythe 1
1 – Carley Frye (GW) def. Anna Turnmire, 6-4, 6-4; 2 – Lucy Phipps (GC) def. Lauren Willis, 6-0, 6-1; 3 – Laura Shearin (GC) def. Leia King, 6-1, 6-3; 4 – Megan Finklea (GC) def. Chloe Willis, 6-4, 7-5; 5 – Alisha Bost (GC) def. Alli Jones, 6-1, 6-0; 6 – Shannon Gamble (GC) def. Payton Yates, 6-1, 6-2.
Radford 6, Grayson County 0
1 – Cypress Beach (R) def. Anna Turnmire 6-1, 6-2; 2 – Hannah Cooley (R) def. Lucy Phipps 6-2, 7-5; 3 – Neha Desai (R) def. Laura Shearin 6-3, 6-2; 4 – Morgan Miano (R) def. Megan Finklea 6-0, 6-1; 5 – Hannah Kreyer (R) def. Alisha Bost 6-1, 6-3; 6 – Carly Mannon (R) def. Shannon Gamble 6-3, 6-2.
Grayson County 6, George Wythe 0
1 – Garrett Bailey (GC) d. William Asbury, 6-1, 6-2; 2 – Mike Vaughan (GC) d. Mark Pye, 6-0, 6-4; 3 – Jake Parnell (GC) d. Ben Wassum, 6-1, 6-2; 4 – Ben Horton (GC) d. Will Johnson, 6-1, 6-0; 5 – Grayson Holdaway (GC) d. Tyler Williams, 6-1, 6-0; 6 – Matt Waller (GC) won by forfeit.
Glenvar 6, Grayson County 0
1 – Tim Howard (Gl) def. Garrett Bailey 6-2, 6-2; 2 – Nick Trinchere (Gl) def. Nike Vaughan 6-3, 6-4; 3 – Will Dunkenberger (Gl) def. Jake Parnell 6-2, 2-6, 20-18; 4 – Tyler Haynie (Gl) def. Ben Horton 6-3, 6-4; 5 – Alex Dunkenberger (Gl) def. Grayson Holdaway 6-1, 6-4; 6 – Igor Ponjavic (Gl) def. Matt Waller 6-0, 6-2.