All-district golfer Austin Hamilton completed the transition from the fairway to the tennis court by winning the individual Central District title last week at Meadowbrook High School. He later paired with Andrew Thagard in posting a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Thomas Dale teammates Min Im and Robert Long.
Austin will join Matoaca’s Stephen Bond as regional qualifiers, while both Dale doubles teams will also advance. By virtue of their team title, the Knights will also move on as a team, where they will face James River in the first round.
Coach Cory Neal’s Knights got off to a slow start, falling early on to Matoaca. Hamilton also lost early season matches to both Prince George and Matoaca.
“He really hasn’t played much tennis prior to this year,” Neal said of Austin’s early season struggles. “He did come back to avenge both losses, winning 8-2 and 8-3 in the second meetings.”
Speaking of the loss to Matoaca, Neal went on: “Things were rolling along quite nicely and then we just lost focus in falling 5-4. It was a real wake-up call for us and was a motivating factor in handling the Warriors 9-0 in the next outing.”
Hamilton was named Player of the Year, while Neal took Coach of the Year in voting conducted by the district coaches.