ROCKINGHAM — If Colt Auman needs any advice about how to handle his appearance today in the state tennis tournament, all he has to do is ask a family member.
Both his father, Chris, and his brother, Alex, have been there before. Chris qualified in doubles more than 30 years ago, while Alex made it in both singles and doubles in 2011 and 2012. After advancing in singles as a junior, Alex teamed with Colt a year later in doubles. The duo of Patrick Longest and Andrew Waddell from Broughton defeated the Auman brothers 6-1, 6-3.
“I already know what I need to do,” Auman said. “It’s going to be tough. I got blown away in the first round as a freshman. It’s going to be like the regional final every round.”
Auman went undefeated in singles as well as doubles during the regular season and captured the Southeastern Conference singles championship. His only losses this year were to East Chapel Hill’s Max Smith in the team’s state duals team playoff match and to New Hanover’s Marshall Waren in last week’s 4A East Region finals.
“I was dead in the finals,” Auman admitted. “It will be a miracle if I make it past the first round. Seeding doesn’t really matter at this point because any of the fours can probably beat a one.”
Auman will square off with Grant Patton from South Mecklenburg in the first round today at Millbrook Exchange Park in Raleigh. Patton is the No. 3 seed out of the West Region. The winner of the match will take on either Bennett Crane of R.J. Reynolds (the top seed from the Midwest) or Blake Carter of Wakefield (the fourth seed from the Mideast Region).
Richmond coach Mike James gave Auman a brief scouting report on Patton before practice Wednesday afternoon. Auman was told his opponent is over 6-feet tall and has a big serve. Auman laughed and said he is probably going to be the smallest player at the event, so he knows he can’t overpower the opposition. He added will have to keep the ball in play and force his opponents into making errors.
“My game is all ground strokes,” Auman said. “That’s what I’m best at.”
Auman added he won’t be intimidated by the field because he practices with his father and on rare occasions, his brother.
“I face one (a strong player) every day,” said Auman looking over at his father. “The only difference is he doesn’t move around like them.
“The biggest thing is going to be the speed (of the shots). They will probably have the skill to place the shots where they want.”
Sports editor Shawn Stinson may be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14 or on Twitter @scgolfer.