Eastern Alamance’s men’s tennis squad wound down its season in early April with a series of conference matches, culminating in the Mid-State Conference tournament on April 9.
It was a challenging first season at the helm for EAHS tennis coach Robert Gfeller. The Eagles lost three-time NCHSAA 3A state individual championships qualifier Joseph McPherson - the team’s most viable player going back to 2016. But several pieces are in place for the Eagles to make significant improvements in the coming years.
The Eagles completed the regular season with an overall team record of 2-10, and a Mid-State Conference mark of 1-6. Eastern picked up a pair of victories over Graham (a 9-0 shutout in the season opening match over the Red Devils on February 28), and Northeast Guilford (a 5-4 road victory over the Rams on March 12).
Although the Eagles were shut out this fall in matches against the likes of Orange, Northern Guilford, and Western Alamance, EAHS was competitive in almost all its other matches.
The Eagles suffered a heartbreaking 5-4 defeat at McMichael, and came up just short in 6-3 home Mid-State Conference matches against Morehead and Person, as well as a non-conference road match at Cummings. Eastern managed to get two individual victories against Cedar Ridge, as well as against Cummings in a home match against the Cavaliers on March 5.
Freshman Caleb Gerlach produced the top overall individual record for the Eagles, going a combined 8-4, including an 8-3 record in No. 4 single’s matches. Fellow freshman Ben Hall added two individual victories as the No. 6 single’s player for EAHS. In doubles, Peter Nye and Peyton Williams, along with Jamar Burton and Ben Hall, each produced season records of 1-0. Eastern’s primary doubles team, James Deacon and Caleb Gerlach - went a combined 2-9 on the season.
The Eagles did not have a single senior or junior among its primary eight-man roster. Its most seasoned veterans were a pair of sophomores - Zach Walker and Peter Nye. The remaining six players on the squad - Ben Hall, Caleb Gerlach, Jamar Burton, James Deacon, Julian Rodriguez, and Peyton Williams - are all ninth graders. With so much youth returning in the coming years, the Eagles are poised to make a rise in the standings in 2020 and beyond.