CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Huntington’s J.J. Mercer needed just 49 minutes to put an exclamation point on a brilliant high school career. Mercer defeated Parkersburg’s Jacob Boone 6-0, 6-1 to claim his fourth consecutive Class AAA No. 1 singles championship Saturday morning.
Mercer was tested in Friday’s semifinal matchup against George Washington’s Anthony McIntosh, 6-2, 6-4. But the future Ohio State Buckeye was never threatened in the final and he capped his prep career with an 80-0 record.
“I didn’t feel too much pressure,” Mercer said. “I was able to lock down when I needed to. It was just fun being out there with everyone around me.”
Mercer says his remarkable record of consistency comes from remaining focused at all times. “Tennis can slide from you. It takes a few points, you can lose your lead and then emotions start flying. So you just have to keep those emotions in check and learn from every match you go out and play.”
While Mercer completed wire-to-wire dominance, the Class AAA No. 1 girls singles title was claimed by Hurricane freshman Lexi Smolder. She defeated Cabell Midland’s Channing Varnum 6-3, 6-3.
“It is just a dream,” Smolder said. “I always wanted to be a state champ ever since I was little. It is just amazing to be state champ as a freshman.”
Both Class AAA team competitions were tightly contested entering championship Saturday. But the George Washington Patriots dominated in the final matches. The Patriots claimed six of the seven titles to finish with 19 points. Parkersburg was the runner-up with twelve points and University was third with nine points.
GW won their 19th state championship and their 11th since 2005. Nadeem Jones, Azeem Khan and Alex Stacy won singles titles in the No. 2 through No. 4 singles spots. The Patriots also swept all three doubles championships with Anthony McIntosh, Kareem Baccha and Darshan Sangani adding points for GW.
The Class AAA girls competition wasn’t decided until the final wave of matches. Morgantown and Cabell Midland entered Saturday tied atop the standings with ten points each. The Knights claimed the No. 2 singles title from Hanley Riner the No. 1 doubles title from Riner and Channing Varnum.
But the Mohigans took four points on the final day to win their second state title and their first since 2015. Mackenzie Sorton and Isabella Mascari were double winners for MHS. Sorton won at No. 3 singles. Mascari won at No. 4 singles. And the duo teamed up to win at No. 2 doubles.
Ashalia Aggarwal and Kathryn Regules provided the clinching point for Morgantown in a straight set victory over Parkersburg in the final doubles position.
“It was wonderful this year,” said Morgantown head coach Ted Greenlee. “We had so many contributors. We got here and we had one unfortunate loss but everything fell into place.”
In Class AA-A, the Charleston Catholic boys won the team title with ten points. The Irish received championship points from Jonah Hunter at No. 3 singles and Jack Cimino at No. 4 singles. Juniors Ryan Atassi and Samuel King teamed up to win at No. 3 doubles. CCHS has won eleven state championships.
Ravenswood was the runner-up. The Red Devils finished with eight points. Maximus Hilton defeated Grafton’s Emilien Brazilier 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 at No. 1 singles. Hilton later teamed with Ethan Rawson to win No. 1 doubles.
The Class AA-A girls competition was decided after the semifinal rounds Friday evening. Parkersburg Catholic entered the final day with 12 points and an insurmountable lead.
The Crusaderettes claimed a pair of singles titles. Marie Discini and Hannah Sprout posted straight set wins at the top two singles positions. Discini later paired with Taylor Isaly to win the No. 1 doubles championship. The title is the third for PCHS and their first since 2014.
Heavy rains overnight forced all championship matches to be held indoors Saturday. The Class AAA matches were played in Kanawha City while the Class AA-A matches were relocated to the Charleston YMCA.