Boys tennis: Walton battles hard to win Class 7A title

The Walton boys won the 2022 GHSA Class 7A tennis championship

caption arrowCaption
The Walton boys won the 2022 GHSA Class 7A tennis championship

Johns Creek’s fourth straight win highlights other championships

Rome, Ga. -- The Walton boys, often living in the shadows of the school’s powerful girls program, earned its first state championship since 2015 on Saturday. The Raiders fought off the challenge of Alpharetta, the team that eliminated them a year ago, and prevailed with a 3-1 win in the Class 7A final at the Rome Tennis Center at Berry College.

“It’s awesome of pull a double,” coach John Evans said, referring to an early title won by the girls. “And to be on the same page with the girls is fun.”

The match was decided when the No. 2 singles pairing of Jack Hubbard and Stephen Zhu claimed a hard-fought victory, 5-7, 6-1, 6-3. Other starters for the Raiders are Nicholas Vincent at No. 1, Mark Arshavsky at No. 2, Bailey Raymond at No. 3, and Nick Kirka and Mitchell Freeman at No. 1 doubles.

“Jack and Stephen did a good job all year together,” Evans said. “And Nick at No. 1 has done a phenomenal job. I’m really proud of all the guys.”

Walton started three new players at singles, which gave him flexibility at creating doubles teams.

“When that happened, I felt like we had a chance if we could just take care of the little things – and they did,” Evans said.

“We worked together and we feed off each other’s energy,” Vincent said, “It means everything, especially for our seniors. We finally did it.”

caption arrowCaption
The Johns Creek boys won the 2022 GHSA Class 6A title. It was their fourth straight state championship

Credit: Stan Awtrey

The Johns Creek boys won the 2022 GHSA Class 6A title. It was their fourth straight state championship

Credit: Stan Awtrey

caption arrowCaption
The Johns Creek boys won the 2022 GHSA Class 6A title. It was their fourth straight state championship

Credit: Stan Awtrey

Credit: Stan Awtrey

Class 6A – Johns Creek 3, Cambridge 1: The two teams split during the regular season, with Cambridge winning the Region 7 title, but Johns Creek prevailed in the championship game to win its fourth straight crown and sixth overall.

The Gladiators start Chris Cianciotti at No. 1, Andrew Hertfelder at No. 2, Wesley Cotner at No. 3, Peter Gottschalk and Parker Rowan at No. 1 doubles, and Alvaro Avila-Guilabert and David Sanchez at No. 2 doubles.

“We lost a lot of talent last year, so we’re kind of starting over,” coach Todd Hedden said. “We lost our first region match in something like five years against Cambridge and they made it their goal for the rest of the month to get ready for this match to take another state title.”

Hedden gave credit to community coach Drew Aikens for his work with the team. Aikens is a former Johns Creek player who played at Duquesne and has college experience.

“Other teams had caught us in talent, so it means a lot to come out here and actually compete for the state championship,” Hedden said. “The last few times we had so much top talent that we just came out and won. To come out here and for them to work as hard as they did and this this fourth state championship in a row, it means the world.”

caption arrowCaption
The Westminster boys won the 2022 GHSA Class 3A state championship.

Credit: Special photo

The Westminster boys won the 2022 GHSA Class 3A state championship.

Credit: Special photo

caption arrowCaption
The Westminster boys won the 2022 GHSA Class 3A state championship.

Credit: Special photo

Credit: Special photo

Class 3A – Westminster 3, Brantley County 0: The Wildcats won their second straight state championship and the 23rd in school history. Coach Ralph Geeza’s team did not lose a line during its five state playoff matches.

The Wildcats start Charlie Burdell at No. 1, Evan Le at No. 2, Rian Merchant at No. 3, Jack Burdell and George Mattie at No. 1 doubles and Noah Turbes and Alex Egoavil at No. 2 doubles.

“That was a good team we played in the finals,” Geeza said. “I thought they were very competitive up and down the line. We had to earn it.”

caption arrowCaption
The Pace Academy boys won the 2022 GHSA Class 2A tennis championship.

Credit: Stan Awtrey

The Pace Academy boys won the 2022 GHSA Class 2A tennis championship.

Credit: Stan Awtrey

caption arrowCaption
The Pace Academy boys won the 2022 GHSA Class 2A tennis championship.

Credit: Stan Awtrey

Credit: Stan Awtrey

Class 2A – Pace Academy 3, Lovett 2: The Knights won their 10th state championship and the first since 2019. The championship win came over rival Lovett and wasn’t decided until Noah Benz won his match at No. 3 singles. The Knights lost the decisive No. 3 singles match to Lovett in the final last year.

“So to get the win this year in the same spot was nice,” Pace coach Mathew Marsico said.

The Pace Academy lineup has Harrison Silver at No. 1, Matthew Hall at No. 2, Cole Kaplan and William McMullan at No. 1 doubles and Jude Black and Hunt Stevens at No. 2 doubles.

“It means a lot because the kids have put in a lot of hard work,” Marsico said. “They wanted this from the start of the season. Last season they came so close and didn’t get it. They just worked hard and had a good team goal and supported each other all the way.”

Class 5A – Northview 3, St. Pius 0: Northview captured its first state championship since 2017 and its eighth overall. Coach Mike Dixon’s team started Eshaan Dani at No. 1, Nikhil Thinesh at No. 2, Naman Solan at No. 3 and Paul Philip and Bryan Hu at No. 1 doubles and Jatong Su and Jonathan Chen at No. 2 doubles.

Class 4A – Marist 3, Columbus 0: The War Eagles successfully defended its state champions and won the 21st state title in school history. Coach John Embry’s lineup included Will Marshall at No. 1, Pearc Lane at No. 2, J.D. Ford at No. 3, Ben Houck and Raines Grassi at No. 1 doubles and Ian Chung and Keegan Leary at No. 2 doubles.

Class A Public – Lake Oconee Academy 3, Telfair County 1: Lake Oconee Academy won its first state championship by beat perennial small-school power Telfair. The Titans, coached by Thomas Imhof, started Cooper Ciavola at No. 1, Maddox Cantrell at No. 2, Garrett Payne at No. 3, Adam Kalmanowicz and Noah Gessner at No. 1 doubles and Justin Zahler and Noah Dominy at No. 2 doubles.

Class A Private – Wesleyan 3, Holy Innocents’ 1: The Wolves, coaches by Jonathan Sykes, won its first state title since 2011. Wesleyan’s starting lineup was Grayson Balloon at No. 1, Nick Follett at No. 2, Connor Hewitson at No. 3, Jay Arora and John Perrins at No. 1 doubles and Aidan Abraham and Matthew Godfrey at No. 2 doubles.

About the Author

Editors' Picks