Editor’s note — The Richmond County Daily Journal will look back at the top moments from the Richmond Senior athletic department this season.
ROCKINGHAM — Playing in the same league with perennial tennis powers Pinecrest and Scotland has made it difficult for the rest of the Southeastern Conference to secure spots in the postseason.
For the last two seasons, Alex Auman was able to buck the trend and advanced to the 4A state tournament in singles as a junior and doubles this year.
On the girls side, Brittany Hudson also broke through last fall and finished third in the SEC tournament to qualify for the 4A East Regional in Fayetteville. But it wasn’t easy for Hudson. After being seeded second in the league tournament, Hudson fell in the semifinal round to Pinecrest’s Antonia Meyers 6-2, 6-0.
The loss forced Hudson into a must-win match with Lumberton’s Tatum Kinlaw. The senior pulled out a 6-2, 6-2 victory to secure her spot in the regional.
“Well to begin with I was very nervous and after losing to the Pinecrest girl, I lost some confidence,” Hudson said. “When I played the Lumberton girl from third place, I pulled myself together and played my kind of match. I tried to play consistently, which I hadn’t done in the first match.”
In the regional at Mazarick Park, Hudson faced Meyers in the opening round. Meyers knocked off Hudson for the second time in a week, 6-1, 6-0.
“We thought she had a good draw because she was facing the girl from Pinecrest she faced in the conference tournament,” Richmond coach Paula York said. “Brittany represented Richmond and our team really well. To make it to the regionals after only playing for two years is quite fabulous.”
In the spring, Auman faced a dilemma of attempting to defend his SEC singles title or join forces with his brother and try to capture a doubles crown.
Auman went with family.
Alex and Colt rolled to the league championship and advanced to the regional competition at Mazarick Park, grabbing the No. 2 seed. The Auman brothers opened with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over the West Johnston team of Kyle Smith and Aaron Turner. The second round proved a little tougher. The Aumans turned back the upset bid of Laney’s Patrick Ryder and Reed Gilbert 7-5, 3-6, 6-3.
The duo moved into the regional final after their semifinal opponents, Jordan Frazier and Stephen Gay from J.H. Rose, were unable to compete. Hoggard’s Noah Milliken and Matt Johnson captured the regional title with a 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) win.
At the state tournament at Millbrook Exchange Park in Raleigh, the Auman brothers fell in straight sets in their first-round match to Broughton’s Patrick Longest and Andrew Waddell.
In addition to the achievements from Hudson and the Aumans, the Richmond boys squad earned a bid to the dual tennis playoffs.
Unlike the majority of the other team sports where two-thirds of the SEC advances to the postseason, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association takes the top two conference finishers in tennis. The Raiders finished third behind Pinecrest and Lumberton, but earned their berth as a wild-card selection.
Richmond lost to Green Hope 5-1 in the first round, but York thought it was good exposure for her team.
“It was a good experience for the kids,” York said. “We knew it was going to be tough going in because Green Hope was 17-0.”
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com