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Comet boys tennis finish with perfect season

South Boston News
The HCHS boys tennis team finished its season with a perfect record. From left, first row, assistant coach Michelle Palmore, Luke Redd, Drew Salley. Second row, Grayson Ballance, Ben Irby, Andrew Cole, Jacob Wenzel, Owen McAbee, Gordon Taylor, Minjune Kim. (Submitted photo) / May 14, 2018
Halifax County boys’ tennis has a signature accomplishment to savor.

Try a 15-0 record, and an unblemished mark in the Piedmont District.

The Comets finished an undefeated regular season, the first time ever. Halifax now has Piedmont District tournament play ahead, followed by regional play.

The Comets went 8-0 in the district.

Coach David Riddle celebrated the end of the regular season.

“This was a big day for our team on so many levels. First of all this was our first undefeated regular season ever. We have come very close the past few seasons. The last two we have only lost one match in each of those seasons, and they were both by a score of 5-4.

“Last year the team that beat us to give us that loss was Franklin County. We were worried that would be weighing heavy on their minds going in. We always know that Franklin is always going to be a tough, hard fought contest. But our guys came out playing strong from the get go. Once we were able to win all of our first sets the confidence seemed to group and we were able to sweep singles to clinch the match. This entire group has played up all year and never got themselves down no matter what,” said Riddle.

“This was also our second undefeated Piedmont District season in the past three years. We had quite a few seniors played near the top of the ladder for most of the district teams, so for our guys to be able to go through the season unblemished in district play was huge,” said Riddle.

“We always stress the team focus in everything that they do, but there were a couple of things that should be pointed out. For starters, all of the members of our top six in both singles and doubles finished with 10-plus wins on the year.

“Two of those, Jacob Wenzel and Owen McAbee finished a perfect 15-0 while playing every match in the top 6 of the ladder. To play at 1 and finish the season undefeated and play all the matches is almost unheard of.

“Most schools no matter what their overall team skill level is are going to have solid players at the top. Jacob did a tremendous job all year at that spot. And Owen only had 12 games scored on him the entire season. That an average of less that one game per match. Ben and Gordon battled injuries during part of the season and still managed to have an awesome year. And both were able to beat players that they lost to when they played them for the second time, which is sometimes hard to accomplish. Minjune and Drew moved up this year and had tremendous years in their positions,” said Riddle.

“Their skills and their level of play were way ahead of where they were last year at this time. Luke and Andy Cole were able to gain time in the ladder spots in their first year and were able to contribute to the team wins. Both showed great improvement from when they first started. Grayson was able to get valuable experience in exhibition play as an 8th grader. And for the team as a whole, doubles was a huge success, only losing 5 matches there all year. Doubles has been a weaker spot for us in the past, so to play like that this year was great,” said Riddle.

“What this group was able to accomplish was amazing. For starters, perfect regular seasons are hard to come by, no matter what the sport. But the way these guys did it was tremendous. Eight of their 15 wins were 9-0 victories. And the closest match of the year was 6-3, and that only happened once. Coach Palmore and I can’t say enough about what this group has been able to do and the work that they put in all season.”

“But like we told them after tonight’s victory, we still have work to do. We have the individual tourney for singles and doubles coming up next week in the Piedmont, and regionals play coming up for the team and individuals as well. We will celebrate this win but look to get right back to business and keep the success of this special season going,” said Riddle.


1. Jacob Wenzel (HC) def Brandon Carter 6-3, 6-2

2. Ben Irby (HC) def Chris Taylor 6-1, 6-1

3. Gordon Taylor (HC) def Dakota Treadway 6-0, 6-2

4. Owen McAbee (HC) def Matt Thompson 6-1, 6-0

5. Minjune Kim (HC) def Gabriel Johnson 6-4, 6-2

6. Drew Salley (HC) def Andrew Williamson 6-0, 6-4


1. Carter/Taylor def Wenzel/Taylor (HC) 6-4, 6-2

2. Irby/McAbee (HC) def Treadway/Thompson 6-1, 6-3

3. Kim/Salley (HC) def Williamson/Bram David 6-1, 6-2


Luke Redd (HC) def Stone Gibbs 8-1

Grayson Ballance (HC) def Kobe Levisy 8-6

Redd/Ballance (HC) def Johnson/Nathaniel Ayers 8-0

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