No. 5 high school sports story of 2017-18 | Northeastern boys tennis returns

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(The Northeastern boys tennis team l-r) Top row: Parker Betts, Alex Kockler, Michael Carter, Taylor Carter, LP Hornthal and David Kleinschuster. Bottom row: Darius Walton and Nolan Patel. The team clinched the 2018 Northeastern Coastal Conference regular season championship after not fielding a team during the 2017 season.


By David Gough
Sports Writer

Friday, July 13, 2018

In 2016, the Northeastern boys tennis program didn’t have a ton of success.

The Eagles went 3-8 overall, winning all three within conference play. 14 of their 63 total matches resulted in victories.

One year later and the boys tennis program didn’t exist because not enough students decided to join the team. Meanwhile, the girls tennis team, under the direction of coach April Turner, went 12-6 including 6-6 in conference play in the fall of 2016.

Come fall 2017, the girls improved to 12-2 (8-2). When this past spring came around, Turner also coached the return of the boys’ program.

The Eagles were far better than their last campaign two season ago. They won all eight regular season matches and didn’t lose until the state tournament.

That’s good for not only winning the regular season Northeastern Coastal Conference team championship but also performing very well at the conference tournament.

Seniors L.P. Hornthal, a member of the 2016 team, and Taylor Carter, first year on the roster, teamed up for doubles and preserved their No. 1 seed winning the conference tournament.

It allowed them to reach the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 2A East Regional where they finished second and qualified for states.

All eight members of the team participated in the conference tournament whether it was in singles or doubles matches.

Carter was the No.1 singles match player for the Eagles all season, while his brother Michael was the third singles player as a freshman this past spring.

David Kleinschuster was the team’s captain as the senior joined Hornthal as the only two who came from the 2016 team. Kleinschuster was the No. 4 singles player in 2018.

While Hornthal and Kleinschuster has shined as tennis players when they’ve had the chance to play at Northeastern, it wasn’t the main sport for many of the others by any means.

Taylor Carter had been a key member of the Eagles’ baseball team and decided that he’d turn his attention to tennis in his final spring of high school. Michael Carter played for the soccer team in the fall in his first year in high school.

Also joining the team to make the 2018 season possible were three seniors who occupied high school playing football and basketball.

Darius Walton and Parker Betts had finished their time as Northeastern football players in the fall and were added on to the tennis team for the spring. Nolan Patel came from the basketball team.

All three players participated in both singles and doubles matches throughout the season. Freshman Alex Kockler played No. 5 singles in the spring.

The season eventually came to an end in the first round of the dual team playoffs after the Eagles dropped five matches to Greene Central, but the return of the boys tennis team proved to be worthwhile after a year off.