ELKIN - East Wilkes capped off an unbeaten run through the Mountain Valley Conference regular season with a gold medal sweep at the conference tennis tournament last week at Elkin Municipal Park.
After completing a perfect 16-0 regular season, the Lady Cardinals captured four medals in the MVAC tournament, led by 1A singles champion Kelly Johnson.
Johnson breezed past Alleghany’s Molly Andrews 6-1, 6-0 in the semifinals to punch her ticket in the finals. Elkin’s Payton Nicholson knocked off East’s Marygail Mahaffey in the second semi to set up the championship match.
During the regular season, Johnson got the best of Nicholson in both meetings, topping Elkin’s No. 1 7-6, 6-2 and 5-7, 6-2, 10-6 in two hard-fought matches.
In the finals, Johnson controlled the match from the start, capturing gold with a 6-1, 6-1 victory.
In the bronze medal match, Mahaffey rebounded and took third with a 6-4, 6-4 win to give the Cardinals two of the top three spots.
The 1A doubles championship match was an all-Cardinal event, featuring two East Wilkes pairs in Hannah Brown/ShaNisha White and Molly Callaway/Christy Carter.
Brown and White knocked off Haley Spurlin and Lydia Garcia from Alleghany 6-3, 6-1 in the first semifinal match to grab a spot in the finals, while Callaway and Carter topped Elkin’s Ally Gentry and Julie Neumark 6-1, 6-2 to set up the Cardinal showdown.
In the finals, Brown and White battled past their teammates to claim the gold 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a hard-fought match.
Spurlin and Garcia topped the Elkin pair 6-2, 6-2 to win the bronze medal.
On the 2A side of the tournament, Forbush’s Deanna Wilkins and Starmount duo Heaven Walters and Ashley Griffin powered their way to silver medals in their respective events.
In singles, Wilkins breezed past Wilkes Central’s Mary Hollis in the semifinals 6-1, 6-1 to punch her ticket to the championship bout. Another Eagle, Frankie McKinney, got all she could handle from Starmount’s Miracle Walters in the second semi before closing out the match in three sets 6-0, 4-6, 6-2.
McKinney battled past Wilkins in the finals 6-3, 6-3 to win gold.
In doubles, Heaven Walters and Griffin breezed past Ashe County’s Maggie Witherspoon and Halle Brown 6-1, 6-0 in the first semifinal. The Huskies’ second doubles pair of Anna Wooten and Haley Maloney topped Emily Faw and Lindsay Van Noy of Wilkes Central in the second semi to set up the championship match.
In the finals, Wooten and Maloney knocked off the Starmount duo to capture the gold 6-0, 6-3.
A bronze medal match was not played on the 2A side.
East Wilkes and Elkin earned berths into the upcoming 1A state dual team playoffs.
The Cardinals receive a first-round bye and will take on either Bishop McGuinness or East Montgomery in the second round. The Lady Elks drew Yadkin Valley Conference’s No. 2 seed Chatham Central in the first round, set for Tuesday afternoon.
Wilkes Central was the only other MVAC team to receive a postseason invite.
Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.