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story.lead_photo.caption Eddie Hunter of Haas Hall-Bentonville hits a forehand Tuesday during his 6-2, 6-0 victory over teammate Andrew Schweitzer to claim the Class 2A state boys tennis singles title at the Walton Life Fitness Center in Bentonville. - Photo by Flip Putthoff

BENTONVILLE -- Eddie Hunter couldn't have asked for a better situation Tuesday afternoon.

The Haas Hall-Bentonville sophomore had everything go in his favor as he claimed the Class 2A state boys tennis singles title with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over teammate Andrew Schweitzer.

"I'm just really excited," Hunter said. "I had taken off singles for a year to play doubles with my friend, and it feels really good to be at the top.

"Everything went as planned. I was hitting the ball strong and hitting it really well. It was just too much for him."

Hunter, a state champion in doubles last year, became the school's second tennis player to win a state singles title after Auguste Moisson won it a year ago.

Hunter lost nine games through his four matches and was well-rested after a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Josh Stewart of Ridgefield Christian in one semifinal, while Schweitzer battled to a three-set victory over Parkers Chapel's Michael Brotherton in the other.

The title match barely had started when rain began to fall and halted play. The remainder of the match was played indoors at the Walton Life Fitness Center's tennis facility and gave Hunter a bigger advantage.

"I've practiced here for six years," Hunter said. "Using that home-court advantage really helped me. I really tried to take it to him early, and it paid off. I was pounding the ball from the baseline, and he had to move around a lot."

Hunter's run was just a portion of Haas Hall-Bentonville's domination in the boys division. The Huskies won every point possible for them and finished with 22 points, while Parkers Chapel was a distant second with six points.

Haas Hall-Bentonville also dominated the doubles final as the team of Austin Rodriguez and David Cordero outlasted fellow Huskies Carlos Casasola and Maxim Chadwick for a 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 decision.

"Austin and David have had a really good season," Huskies Coach Austin Robles said. "This has been the first time they played together, but they seemed to do really well. Based off of their other matches prior to the final, I don't think it was a surprise.

"I think all our boys played pretty well. Going into the tournament, I knew we had a strong team but I never thought we would do this well. I'm happy they all made it to the finals."

Riverside's girls captured their fifth state championship, and the Lady Rebels did it without the luxury of winning the singles or the doubles titles. Riverside finished with 10 points, followed by Parkers Chapel with 8 and Ridgefield Christian with 7.

The Lady Rebels, who dropped from Class 3A this year, picked up their points by placing players in the final. Abby Brickell reached the singles final before she dropped a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 decision to Jenna Berry, who scored all of Ridgefield Christian's points. The doubles team of Bailey Fisher and Carson Smith took Parkers Chapel's team of Kenlee McAuliffe and Ali Looney to the limit before dropping a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 decision.

"We had just enough points," Riverside Coach Terry Conner said. "Abby, our singles player, had been in the finals in doubles play the last two years and did a real good job as the fifth seed. Our doubles team reached the finals last year in 3A and did well as the three seed.

"For us, the transition to Class 2A means the same competition. Class 3A can be tougher because of the private kids, but we are comfortable in 2A. We know everybody in 2A, and we like being in 2A."

Photo by Flip Putthoff
Andrew Schweitzer sets up to make a return during his 6-2, 6-0 loss to Eddie Hunter, his Haas Hall Bentonville teammate, in the boys singles final at the Class 2A state tennis tournament in Bentonville on Tuesday.

Sports on 10/10/2018

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