West Stokes tennis program has won the past four Western Piedmont Conference championships, but this season, they’re starting off to a slow start. The Wildcats lost their first conference match since April, 2015 to Atkins Tuesday afternoon and then fell to Forbush 7-2 on Thursday in King.
“We have an athletic team this year, but tennis is not necessary their first choice to play,” said West Stokes coach David Smith. “The problem right now is our players are struggling with the transition from other sports. We have four basketball and one football player on the team this year. We have the potential to finish strong, but it may take a few matches.”
Forbush won four of the six single matches on Thursday. Matt Wilhelm defeated number one seeded Noah Spainhour 6-1, 6-1. The Wildcats’ Ian Simpson lost to Lance Kennedy 7-5, 6-2, and three seed Isaac Spainhour fell 6-2, 6-1 to Payton Eldridge. Four seed John Brooke won the Wildcats first game 7-6 (7-3), 6-0 over Seth Anderson and Cole Cardwell followed suit with a 7-6 (7-1), 5-7, 10-7 victory over Alex Pena. West Stokes Drevan Sellers fell 6-4, 6-2 with the home team down 4-2 going into doubles.
“Some of the single matches we lost were really close,” Smith said. “If we could have gone into doubles tied at three, I would have liked our chances a lot better. It’s hard to win all three.”
The visitors stayed consistent in the double events and won all three games. Wilhelm and Kennedy beat Noah Spainhour and Brooke 8-2, Edgar Markman and Anderson slid past Simpson and Jackson Stover 8-5, and Pena and Eldridge won over Isaac Spainhour and Sellers 8-2 in the final match of the day.
The Wildcats fell to Atkins 8-1 on Tuesday with Isaac Spainhour and Simpson beating Luke Bender and Ralph Sicat 8-4 in doubles for their only win of the day.
West Stokes record is now 2-4 overall and 2-2 in conference play and they are set to host Surry Central (4-1-1) and Walkertown (4-4) on Tuesday and Thursday. Atkins improved to 6-0 (4-0), while Forbush is right behind them at 5-2 (3-1).
Robert Money can be reached at 336-749-1193.