GC, NL win ECC tennis titles
From left, Greene Central’s Brandon Gilbert and Cameron Beaman won the Eastern Carolina 2A tournament doubles championship Tuesday. Submitted photo
SNOW HILL — Cameron Beaman and Brandon Gilbert have come a long way since their freshmen year.
In 2016, Greene Central was the worst team in the Eastern Carolina 2A, finishing 0-15. On Tuesday, the duo helped the Rams garner a conference championship and also won the ECC tournament in doubles, completing a tremendous turnaround for the Rams.
“That first year, not only did they lose every match but nobody won a single game,” Greene Central third-year coach Tim Medlin said. “The first year, we went 8-8 and were 8 points away from completing a worst-to-first turnaround. Last year, we were 12-4 and lost a 5-4 match to North Lenoir, finishing second in the conference.
“This year, they kept working and the entire team played their hearts out to make this happen. It’s an incredible feeling.”
Gilbert said this was one of the most talented rosters the school’s produced.
“We stayed focused the entire year and our whole lineup was pretty stacked,” Gilbert said. “For a lot of teams, they may only have a few good players but everyone had the ability for our team.”
Beaman said it hasn’t just been the upperclassmen making moves for the Rams.
“Guys like Tucker (Williams) and Luke (Edmondson) have stepped up and made good progress,” Beaman said. “We’ve all been doing our part, coming to practice and working hard.”
Williams, who finished second in the singles championship to North Lenoir’s Shane Swindell, said it’s been a good journey.
“Me and some of the other sophomores on the team knew we had work to do, and it’s helped that we’ve been playing in tournaments outside of school to get better,” Williams said.
Swindell, who was named ECC Player of the Year in tennis, said he will approach the Eastern 2A regionals with a more nonchalant demeanor in singles.
“Nobody’s depending on me and I’m not depending on anyone, so it takes some of the pressure off,” Swindell said. “I just have to take it one stroke at a time out there and go with the flow — if I don’t, I’ll be more nervous and it could affect my game.”
Williams, Washington’s Tim Anglin and West Craven’s Matt Bircher will also qualify for regionals in singles. Gilbert and Beaman will make it to regionals in doubles, along with North Lenoir’s Freddie Mielke and Matthew Riddick, Greene Central’s Edmondson and Jeremy Dawson and Washington’s Stewart Hopper and Tripp Pippin.
For NL, Mielke and Riddick worked as doubles partners for the first time this year and made a significant impact.
“It means a lot for the both of us, especially with it being our first year playing with each other,” Riddick said. “We’ve wanted it ever since the first game we played this year against Clinton and we’ve been playing hard ever since.”
Mielke, a transfer student from Germany, said making the transition to the states wasn’t as difficult and the chemistry with Riddick was great.
“As soon as you get to playing, you find that sense for the game,” Mielke said. “From there, you try to find the weaknesses in the opponents’ game and go from there.”
Axel Hernandez (AG) def. Dustin Welsh (WC) 6-2, 6-1
Drake Robart (GC) def. Hodges Tubaugh (W) 6-3, 6-0
Parker Mitchell (NL) def. Chris Smith (WC) 6-4, 6-3
Shane Swindell (NL) def. Hernandez (AG) 6-1, 6-0
Matt Bircher (WC) def. Robart (GC) 6-4, 7-5
Tim Anglin (W) def. Ernesto Garcia (AG) 6-0, 6-3
Tucker Williams (GC) def. Mitchell (NL) 6-1, 6-2
Swindell (NL) def. Bircher (WC) 6-0, 6-0
Williams (GC) def. Anglin (W) 6-0, 6-1
Anglin (W) def. Bircher (WC) 6-4, 6-0
Swindell (NL) def. Williams (GC) 6-1, 6-2
1. Shane Swindell (NL)
2. Tucker Williams (GC)
3. Tim Anglin (W)
4. Matt Bircher (WC)
Freddie Mielke-Matthew Riddick (NL) def. Courtland Whitley-Cameron Holford (W) 6-1, 6-1
Jeremy Dawson-Luke Edmondson (GC) def. Wyatt Dosch-Brandon Smith (AG) 6-3, 6-0
Stewart Hopper-Tripp Pippin (W) def. Evan Eadus-Ryan Baxter (AG) 6-2, 6-2
Brandon Gilbert-Cameron Beamon (GC) def. Jamel Mumford-Vincent Phillips (NL) 6-0, 6-1
Mielke-Riddick (NL) def. Dawson-Edmondson (GC) 7-5, 4-6, 6-3
Gilbert-Beamon (GC) def. Hopper-Pippin (W) 6-0, 7-5
Dawson-Edmondson (GC) def. Hopper-Pippin (W) 3-6, 6-4, 6-2
Gilbert-Beamon (GC) def. Mielke-Riddick (NL) 7-6 (8-6), 6-7 (3-7), 6-2
1. Brandon Gilbert-Cameron Beamon (GC)
2. Freddie Mielke-Matthew Riddick (NL)
3. Jeremy Dawson-Luke Edmondson (GC)
4. Stewart Hopper-Tripp Pippin (W)