DAVIDSON – Courtney Mudge, in order to win a state championship, had to disappoint a friend.
Mudge, a junior at Community School of Davidson, won the N.C. Class 1A singles championship by beating freshman teammate Marisa Deininger in the final in Cary on Oct. 26. She became the first athlete to win a tennis state title in school history. Mudge is The Herald Weekly Girls Tennis Player of the Year.
The state final, a morning match, was played in near-freezing weather. But it was the rare occasion when a school landed both players in the final.
“These girls played very hard and traveled to conference individual tournaments, regional individual tournaments and the state final in Cary, only to end up playing each other for the state title,” Community School of Davidson coach Crystal Hamilton said. “The score of the (finals) match was 7-6, 7-6 with both sets ending in tie-breaks. Can you tell I am a proud coach?”
Mudge’s close victory capped a dominant season. She was 17-1 in singles competition and 6-0 in doubles matches. Her lone loss was to Hannah Archer (Lake Norman Charter), a player Mudge had beaten twice last year. It’s news when Mudge loses because it doesn’t happen often when she is on the court.
Mudge’s standout season improved her three-year record in high school to 55-2. The championship keeps her inline with her athletic family members. Her older brother, Robbie, who plays tennis for N.C. State, was a high school state champion at Winston-Salem Reynolds High. Her father, Dave, was a state champion in Virginia. Her sister, Michelle, a Hopewell High alum, won the N.C. 4A diving championship.
Mudge’s individual success also helped Community School of Davidson’s excellent team performance. The Spartans won the Southern Piedmont 1A conference title and reached the second round of the N.C. Class 1A dual-team playoffs.
Mudge won the conference singles championship, the 1A West Regional singles championship and the 1A state title. She played perhaps her best tennis at the state tournament, winning two matches on the first day of competition, with three of the four sets being won at love (6-0 scores).
Community School of Davidson wasn’t a member of the N.C. High School Athletic Association last year, which made Mudge ineligible to compete in the playoffs. The Spartans joined the NCHSAA this fall and landed two players in the final.
Mudge also is a standout player on the U.S. Tennis Association circuit. In her age group, she’s ranked No. 7 in North Carolina, 100th in the Southeast and 325th nationally.
Herald Weekly 2013 Girls Tennis Coach of the Year
Geoff Southwell guided his tennis team farther than other squad in the lake area. His Lake Norman Charter team won three playoff matches in the N.C. Class 1A bracket to reach the state semifinals. The Knights finished with an 18-2 record, and Southwell is The Herald Weekly Girls Tennis Coach of the Year.
Lake Norman Charter had talent, depth and consistency. Sophomore Hannah Archer reached the semifinals in the 1A singles competition and shined at No. 1 singles all season. Charter’s Sravya Uppalapati and Lauren Loveless teamed to reach the quarterfinals in the 2A doubles state tournament.