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Comets shut out in state tennis semifinals 5-0 / June 03, 2019
Halifax County High School varsity boys’ tennis stepped up to state Class 5 semifinals action in Annandale, and lost to one of the stronger programs in the state, Thomas Jefferson Science and Technology, 5-0, Friday.

“TJ was one of the if not the strongest teams that I have seen in my 19 years of coaching. There is no doubt as to why they have won five straight state team titles and six in the last 10 years. They made very few mistakes and played aggressive the entire match,” said coach David Riddle.

“Still, our guys had absolutely no quit in them. Coach Palmore and I actually felt that they played tougher today than they did against Albermarle last week. They fought hard from start to finish. We talked all week about the level that we were at and that things were not going to get any easier. While the box score might not indicate it, the Comets played with focus and pushed themselves against a very difficult opponent

“We talked at the end of last season how 2018 was going to be tough to match. First undefeated regular season, most wins ever, Jacob Wenzel’s individual Piedmont District singles title. But the entire team talked about doing even more this year. They set that as a goal and they accomplished it. Another undefeated regular season, passed the most wins with 18 for the year, won the Piedmont District tournament, and then defeated PH-Roanoke for the first time in the 5D quarters and topped that by defeated Brooke Point 5-4 in the semis to advance to States. And the guys have already started talking about getting the work in and preparing for next season. These past 5-6 years have all been ones where the bar has been set high by the previous team, yet the next year the group comes in determined to do more. Palmore and I have been fortunate to have hard working players for years now that have kept on working on there game and trying to get better each and every year out. We are going to keep building this Comet tennis program to both maintain and push past the level we are at now,” said Riddle.


1. Daniel Wen def Ben Irby (HC) 6-0, 6-0

2. Ted Zhou def Drew Salley (HC) 6-0, 6-0

3. Sathya Gnana Kumar def Minjune Kim (HC) 6-0, 6-0

4. Joseph Rejive def Luke Redd (HC) 6-0, 6-1

5. Sanhil Singh vs Owen McAbee (HC) 6-0, 5-2 DNF

6. Ajay Prabha Kar def Grayson Ballance (HC) 6-0, 6-0

n Halifax County High School boys’ tennis had losses in singles and doubles’ action last week.

“Ben fought a really tough match in singles. It was at 5-4 in singles and we were looking close to get it to 5-5 but Yoder ended up pulling it out in deuce. The second set was also closely contested but we just simply could not get any of the close games to go our way. Yoder ended up advancing to states after his semifinals match so we were impressed with how Ben carried himself in his contest,” said Riddle.

“In doubles Ben and Owen also fought hard, we just had too many unforced errors and let too many opportunities slip away. We had played the PH doubles team last week in a 10-4 loss and I feel like we actually played a little better today. When we cut the second set to 4-3 Coach Palmore and I thought we were seeing a momentum shift, but PH just came out strong in the next two games are were able to put it away,” said Riddle.

“We are proud of Ben and Owen. Both have come a long way over the last few years. Owen started out as an unseeded player his freshman year and Ben was near the bottom of the ladder his first year as well. The two of them have grown tremendously. Aside from the talent loss, there leadership of this team with be tremendously missed next season. Both were complete team players who always did what was asked of the coaches and tried whatever they could do to make the team better. They will be very hard to replace in both of those elements,” said Riddle.


Toby Yoder (Harrisonburg) def Ben Irby (HC) 6-4, 6-1

Doubles Quarterfinals

David Hudson/Henry Holbrook (PH-Roanoke) def Irby/Owen McAbee (HC) 6-2, 6-3

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