COLLEGE STATION – Noah Wingate’s gold rush remains intact.
The Robinson junior advanced to the Class 4A boys singles final at the UIL State Tennis Tournament for the second straight year. Wingate won a pair of straight-sets matches at Thursday’s opening day, and will face off with Boerne’s Ryan Koth for the state championship at 8:30 a.m. Friday at Texas A&M’s George Mitchell Tennis Center.
Wingate lost in the state final in 2016 to Abilene Wylie’s Max Tadvick, 6-3, 6-4. In 2015 as a freshman he dropped out in the state semifinals. So he’d love to close the books on this season with his first state title.
“From the moment he lost in last year’s final, he’s had one goal in mind, and that’s to get back to the state final and finish it off,” Robinson coach Jack Gregory said. “He’s been very driven for a year now.”
Wingate handled his business with little problem on Thursday. In his quarterfinal match, he briskly disposed of Wharton’s Matthew Stephenson, 6-2, 6-2. Then later in the day he cruised by Argyle’s Matt Hynek, 6-1, 6-2.
Robinson’s other state qualifier in boys singles, Casey Voss, couldn’t make it an all-Rocket final. Voss dropped his opening match to Koth, 6-2, 6-4.
Gregory said he thinks Wingate has an excellent chance of defeating Koth.
“In a way, (Koth is) a lot like Noah,” Gregory said. “He likes to play behind the baseline. He’s what some people would call a backboard. He’s real quick, gets to everything and he won’t beat himself. … But Noah is so patient, and he has the right temperament. I feel really good about his chances.”
In 4A girls doubles, China Spring’s Lydia McMullen and Sadie Hopkins couldn’t get past Bellville’s Carrsyn Gregor and Kendall Jablonowski, losing, 6-1, 6-2.
On the Class 1A courts, the Dragons of Iredell breathed some fire in their opening matches at state. Iredell’s six entries went 5-1 in the first round to advance on to the semifinals later in the day.
That included wins by Lana Lentschke and Kassie Newton in their respective girls singles matches, the boys doubles team of Garrett Fletcher and Micah Wellborn, the girls doubles squad of Madison Ogburn and Hannah Fowler and the mixed doubles team of Ally Johnson and Colton Fowler. The only Iredell qualifiers who didn’t win their opening match were the mixed doubles squad of Kyra Coffell and Alex Argott.
Unfortunately for the Dragons, though, none of those players could extend their state tournament run through the semifinals, as they all dropped their second-round matches.
In the Class 2A ranks, none of the Central Texas state qualifiers could break through the quarterfinal round of the state tournament.
Bosqueville’s Robert Blue pushed his singles opponent Christian Mercier to the brink, but Mercier pulled out a gritty, three-set victory, 6-1, 5-7, 6-4. Meanwhile, Blue’s Bosqueville teammate Cason Bradberry dropped his opening-round match to Olton’s Robert Marshall, 6-1, 6-1.
In 2A girls singles, El Dorado’s Branda Gail Arispe dispatched Hamilton’s Catherine Kinsey, 6-3, 6-0.
The 2A boys doubles duo of Josh White and Jeremy Hopcus of Bremond lost to the Poolville tandem of Roy McCleery and Landon Smith, 7-5, 6-1.
Both of Dawson’s entries endured first-round exits, as the girls doubles team of Emma Reeder and Morgan Freeland fell to Olton’s Kea Sandoval and Soldedad Pedroza, 6-2, 6-2, while the regional champion mixed doubles team of Chance Gillen and Jacie Henderson fell to a squad from Mason, 6-3, 6-1. Also in mixed doubles, Crawford’s qualifying duo of Joe Edwards and Anne Williams lost to another Mason duo, 6-3, 6-0.
McGregor’s Andrew Taylor and Seth Melton made some school history this year when they became the first players from the school to reach the state tournament. Unfortunately for that duo, their trip to state was short-lived, as Taylor and Melton fell in their 3A boys doubles quarterfinal match to Brock’s Dylan Davis and Will Paschal, 6-0, 6-2.
Elsewhere in 3A doubles, Groesbeck’s Noah Santa Cruz and Colby McWhorter stumbled in a hard-fought but straight-sets loss to Tulia’s Jaxton Hoelting and Tanner Hooper, 6-4, 6-4. Groesbeck’s other state entry, in girls doubles, was also eliminated. The Lady Goat tandem of Hannah Defriend and Josie Wells was bounced by Ingram Moore’s Kendall Jensen and Diana Quinones, 6-4, 6-3.