Warriors maintain high level in tennis

Wheatmore girls hone in on another conference title

TRINITY — Some of the key players have changed from just a few months ago but the rate of success related to the Wheatmore girls’ tennis team remains at a high level.

“The key is having a solid team,” coach Doug Gore said. “The girls have worked really hard in the offseason.”

The Warriors entered the week on the verge of clinching a conference championship for the third year in a row.

Wheatmore is paced by returning starters Kara Comer in the No. 1 position and Kelly Carrick in the No. 3 slot. They’re both seniors.

That means there are others who’ve moved into key spots in the team’s lineup.

“Last season, we had girls in the (Nos.) 5 and 6 (position) all the way up to 10 who were pretty much equal,” Gore said. “The ones who’ve filled in (vacancies) weren’t quite as experienced. They’re all underclassmen so I think that’s a good set-up for next year.”

Wheatmore’s Mikalah Walls returns the ball against Providence Grove’s Allie Fraizer during their tennis match Oct. 5 in Climax. PJ WARD-BROWN/NORTH STATE JOURNAL

This season’s lineup also includes juniors Hannah Wilson, Elayna Brown and Mikalah Walls along with sophomore Carmen Turgeon.

Wheatmore entered the week with an 8-2-1 record, including a 7-0 mark in the Piedmont Athletic Conference.

Comer is a two-time participant in the state tournament, competing as a sophomore in singles and as a junior in doubles.

The 2020 season was shifted to this past spring because of the pandemic. The Warriors went 8-0 in league-only competition. Team members were a combined 70-1 in those matches.

“It hasn’t been as clean as we were last year, but we’ve been able to pull out the matches,” Gore said. “We’ve had a few matches that have been tight. It seems like when somebody has to pull out the big matches, they do.”

Gore said Wheatmore’s strong tradition means the players take out-of-season training seriously. He said players interested in making an impact tend to join the team.

“That’s the key to our program,” Gore said. “We try to get as many freshmen in.”

Monday’s weather-related postponement at Providence Grove nixed a potential league-clinching match. The Warriors are supposed to compete in three matches this week. They’ll be the hosts for next Tuesday’s conference tournament.

Wheatmore won last season’s Mideast Regional title, though the state duals weren’t contested because of the restructured season based on the pandemic.

With new conference alignments beginning this past summer, Wheatmore has shifted to the Midwest Region.


By Bob Sutton

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