Two traditional high school tennis powers shook off high heat, humidity and challenges from Hampden Academy to capture Class A North championships at Lewiston High School’s Anita Murphy Courts on Tuesday morning.
The undefeated Camden Hills of Rockport boys won all five of its matches against the Broncos in straight sets, while the once-beaten Brunswick girls swept the singles play to secure a 3-2 victory.
Both winners advance to Saturday’s state finals, but the experience will be nothing new for either program.
Camden Hills captured the A North boys title for the third straight year after making four consecutive appearances in the Class B state final between 2014 and 2017 — and winning it all in 2014 and 2015.
The Brunswick girls team won its fifth Class A regional crown in the last nine seasons, a run highlighted by state championships in 2012 and 2013.
Camden Hills was led by junior Ezra LeMole, who defeated Hampden’s Owen Flannery 6-3, 6-3 in a battle of top seeds who both reached the Round of 16 at this year’s State Singles Tournament.
Owen Markowitz pulled away from Oliver Bois 7-5, 6-1 at second singles while Noah Thackeray fought off Liam Castrucci 6-4, 6-3 at third singles.
The Windjammers started fast in both doubles matches, with Lincoln Pierce and Kyan Mohammadi defeating Will Airey and Finn Castrucci 6-1, 7-5 at first doubles and Espen Wold and Liam O’Dwyer scoring a 6-0, 6-3 victory over Tate Clough and K.J. Morse.
“While it did go in our favor in straight sets, it wasn’t without Hampden giving us a good, hard-fought battle,” Camden Hills coach Jesse Simko said.
Camden Hills (15-0) faces the winner of Wednesday’s A South final between No. 1 Kennebunk (14-0) and No. 2 Thornton Academy of Saco (13-1) for the state championship at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, also in Lewiston.
“It’s one of those things where our kids were hungry for a state title last year and without having the season [due to COVID-19] the hunger is still there,” Simko said.
Hampden Academy, seeded No. 1 in the North, finished 13-2.
“I told the guys [Monday] night at practice that there were only four teams in Class A practicing right now and that’s something to be proud of,” Hampden boys coach Tyler Ross said. “It was definitely a great season. All the seniors on our team have a lot to be proud of, and hopefully we can build from there next season.”
Coach Mary Kunhardt’s Brunswick squad figured to be a formidable foe for the Hampden girls team after advancing four players to the state singles Round of 52 last month. That contingent included two seeded players in No. 7 Coco Meserve and No. 9 Anna Barnes — with Barnes reaching the quarterfinals and Meserve the Round of 16.
Brunswick’s singles tandem of Meserve, Barnes and Ella Perham dropped only five games among them against Hampden’s Mikiko Frey, Annika Bragg and MacKenzie Patterson, respectively, to clinch the team title.
Hampden’s doubles teams also won in straight sets. Anna Schmidt and Sam Quesnel defeated Lisa Rand and Abby Sharpe 6-4, 6-4 at first singles and Chandler Smith and Ella Baldwin topped Emily Davison and Sadie Levy 6-1, 6-1 at second doubles.
Brunswick (14-1) plays the winner of Wednesday’s Class A South girls final between No. 1 Falmouth (13-1) and No. 3 Kennebunk (9-3) at 8:30 a.m. Saturday in Lewiston for the state championship.
Hampden finished 11-4.
“We only had one regular back from pre-COVID, so it was pretty much a brand-new team this year,” Hampden girls tennis coach Rich Nutter said. “We lost our first two matches and I figured this was going to be a pretty short season, but they came together and won a lot of 3-2 matches.
“They just played hard and had some fun and it worked out well for them. I was glad for them to get the experience of playing in a championship match.”