There will be at least one Midlands team vying for a boys tennis state championship on Saturday at the Cayce Tennis & Fitness Center.
The assured team will be either A.C. Flora or River Bluff in Class 3A. The Region 4 rivals will square off today in the Class 3A Upper State championship match at Flora with the winner moving on to the season finale.
Lexington is also in the running, but must defeat defending Class 4A state champion and Region 5 rival South Aiken in today’s Lower State title match in Aiken.
First-year River Bluff enters with a 17-2 record, including state playoff wins over Broome (6-0), Eastside (6-0) and Daniel (4-2).
The Gators singles lineup features Logan Adkins (15-1, No. 1), Nikil Sairam (16-2, No. 2), Hunter Benefield (15-3, No. 3), Albert Zhu (15-3, No. 4) and Connor Slattery (18-1, No. 5).
A.C. Flora has playoff wins against Chapman (6-0), Wren (6-0) and Emerald (5-1). The Falcons starting singles lineup features Brandon Douglass, Lukas McClamrock, Austin Powell, Alexander Glickman and Hal Fant.
Lexington and South Aiken are hardly strangers. In fact, the reigning champion Thoroughbreds have eliminated the Wildcats in each of the past three playoff campaigns – in the Lower State finals in 2013 and 2012 and in the third round in 2011. South Aiken defeated Lexington twice during the 2014 region campaign.
“The boys seem to be peaking at the right time,” said LHS coach Eric Jackson.
The Wildcats starting singles lineup includes Thomas Bryan (12-4, No. 1), Adam Hajii (9-8, No. 2), Will Horton (11-5, No. 3); Cole Meyers (14-3, No. 4) and Hector Santillan-Vazquez (11-2, No. 5).
No matter the outcome, Lexington (15-5) has enjoyed yet another successful campaign. Since 2002, the Wildcats have failed to advance at least to the fourth round only one time.