Some pundits say the hardest thing to do in sports is repeat as champion.
Don’t tell that to Western Albemarle’s Gavin Segraves.
The senior standout captured his second straight VHSL Class 3 state singles title Thursday afternoon with dominant performances over Abington’s Dillon McReynolds and York’s R.J. Novak.
“It’s definitely an exciting feeling,” Segraves said. “It means a lot to represent the school and I was really happy with my play.”
The Navy signee opened the semifinals with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over McReynolds.
“I started the match off strong, which really gave me a lot of momentum for the rest of the match,” Segraves said.
He was just as efficient in the finals, rolling to a 6-0, 6-0 win over Novak in 36 minutes.
“I was just really focusing on serving well and starting the point off well,” Segraves said. “I thought I served well and I played well overall.”
Thursday’s performance marked the second straight year that Segraves did not lose a game in the state semifinals and finals.
“He completely dominated the situation in the state playoffs the last two years,” Western Albemarle tennis coach Randy Hudgins said. “He made sure he was completely on top of things and just a cut above in the state semifinals. He’s done such a great job of representing Western Albemarle and is such a humble young man.”
Thursday’s performance is just the start of a busy weekend for Segraves. The senior will look to lead Western Albemarle to a third straight Class 3 state title. In addition, Segraves and Alex Ix are looking for to repeat as state doubles champions.
Segraves is excited for the opportunities.
“[This singles title] gives me a lot of confidence in the rest of the matches left,” Segraves said. “Alex and I have been playing well and hopefully we can continue to do so this weekend.”
Jennings defeated in semis
Corrine Jennings and Abingdon’s Anna Campbell were in the midst of a three-set thriller Tuesday prior to Western Albemarle’s girls tennis team clinching a 5-0 win in the Class 3 state semifinal team match in Crozet.
The two standouts completed the showdown Thursday afternoon in the Class 3 state singles semifinals in Roanoke. The return match was just as close, but Campbell rallied for a 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 victory.
“It was a super-long match, two hours and 40 minutes, and she gave it all she had,” Western Albemarle coach Ellen Markowitz said. “They just split sets on Tuesday and she knew it would be a tough one.”
Jennings won the first set 6-3 and led 5-4 in the second set with a chance to close the match out. Campbell rallied to win the next three games and carried that momentum into the third to win the marathon match.
“Anna raised her game and good players will do that,” Markowitz said.
“I’m disappointed because I had a chance to close it out in the second set,” Jennings said. “She’s a great player and she played tough and she kept the pressure on me and didn’t miss. I’m looking forward to the doubles and the team finals.”
Fahim falls in semifinals
It’s been quite a freshman season for Zavan Fahim. He played No.1 singles for Albemarle all season and posted a 17-5 record against some of the top performers in Central Virginia.
On Thursday, he tested his skills with some of the top players in the state as he represented the Patriots during the Class 5 state singles semifinals at Glen Allen High School in Richmond.
Fahim lost 6-2, 6-1 to Rock Ridge senior Momin Kahn 6-2, 6-1 in the state semifinals, but felt good about his play.
“I played pretty well, I just wasn’t able to finish the guy off,” Fahim said. “He was able to neutralize the point pretty well.”
After falling behind 2-0 in the first set, Fahim won two of the next three games to pull within 4-2. He then held 30-15 lead on Kahn’s serve, but the senior battled back to win the game and close out the set.
The second set was more of the same, as Kahn broke Fahim’s serve three times to secure the victory.
“He was able to hit the ball pretty deep,” Fahim said. “When I would hit it out wide, he’d hit it back high and then I’d hit it to the other side and he’d hit it back high and I couldn’t do anything with the ball and eventually I would give him a nice short ball and he would finish me off.”
Kahn went on to defeat Mills Godwin’s Rishi Charan Sahnkar 6-1, 6-3 to claim the Class 5 state singles title. Despite the loss, Fahim said he learned a lot from this experience.
“It was exciting and a pretty good experience,” Fahim said. “Hopefully I can learn to keep the point in my favor instead of having to basically re-do the point in the middle of the point.”