A pair of USTA tennis teams out of Wakefield Plantation gets over the hump and captures fall state championships.

McConnell Golf Director of Tennis Kyle Thortsen said several of his United States Tennis Association (USTA) teams playing out of Wakefield Plantation have been “knocking on the door” at the state tournament in recent years. This past fall, two of the Wakefield teams finally knocked down the proverbial door, bringing back fall NC State Combo Championships from Wilmington in November.

Captained by Eric Moritz, the Wakefield Men’s 6.5 18-and-over squad enjoyed a near-perfect regular season, winning nine out of 10 matches to advance to the local league playoff, where the top four teams play in a round robin. 

In the playoffs, Wakefield’s first match was against Seven Oaks Tennis Club. Wakefield captured the necessary two out of three courts. Next, they played North Hills Club, which had won the other local league bracket. In that battle of the titans, Wakefield won all three courts to win the Local League Championship.

 Then it was off to Wilmington for the NC State Combo Championships, where Wakefield played four other teams in a round robin, winning all four matches and the bracket winner. This put Wakefield into the final against Town of Cary Public Tennis Courts, where Wakefield won all three courts to become state champions.

‘’It was a great weekend with good friends, beautiful weather, and of course, fun tennis,” says Moritz. Wakefield’s 3.5 players are John C. Rabby, Harry Gill, Mickey Lee Plowden, Keith Wood, Brett Ashley Brackett, Mark E. Moore, and Scott Squires. The 3.0 players are Moritz, Graham Wright, Darian Spell, Shawn Lav, Jason Liner, and Christopher Allan Bricker.

A number of Wakefield’s 6.5 18-and-over players returned to Wilmington the following weekend for the 5.5 40-and- over NC State Combo Championships, led by Shawn Lav, who served as team captain, and Moritz, along with Bricker and Wright. The other 3.0 players on Wakefield’s 5.5 40-and-over team are Jamie Barwick, Scott Stutts, and Eric Wold. The 2.5 players are Mike Blalock, AJ Critelli, Rick Bowers, Tim Driscoll, Chris LaPlante, Patrick Mabunga, and Tuan Nguyen. 

Wakefield’s 5.5 40-and-over team finished the regular season undefeated. Due to the number of teams that competed in Wilmington, Wakefield only needed to defeat one team to capture the state title, another strong squad from Lake Norman. Wakefield Plantation had to beat them three times — and they did just that, winning 2-1 the first match, 3-0 in the second match, and 2-1 in the third and deciding match.

“Kyle Thortsen and his team have done a great job training us,” says Lav. “Their clinics have really been helpful.” Later this spring, both Wakefield Plantation teams will travel to Mobile, Alabama, for the USTA Southern Sectionals. “We wish them the best of luck at the Sectional tournament,” says Thortsen.