Published: Apr 28, 2011 03:40 PM
Modified: Apr 28, 2011 04:06 PM
CARY - After a one-year break last season for a trip to an Alabama junior tournament, the Roman Empire is in full force again in Tri-Nine Conference boys tennis.
Athens Drive senior Roman Cacha won his third conference singles title with a 6-2, 6-2 victory against Middle Creek junior Matt Stachowiak on Wednesday at the Cary Tennis Park.
Cacha won the conference title as a freshman in 2008 and as a sophomore in 2009, but he opted to play in a junior tennis tournament last year for the recruiting exposure gained on the U.S. Tennis Association circuit.
I was disappointed I didnt play last year, but it was for recruiting and it was one of other, Cacha said. I hated to miss high school because its a lot of fun.
The next stop for Cacha after high school is the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he plans to study engineering. He committed to Army after a November recruiting trip, but because of his allergies, he didnt receive medical clearance for acceptance until last week.
Hell make a great officer, Athens Drive coach Gene Thomas said. He works hard and never takes anything for granted.
Cacha, who was born in Raleigh, is the son immigrants from the Czech Republic.
I never thought I would go to a service academy, but after the recruiting trip I saw an opportunity that I couldnt pass up, Cacha said.
Cacha wore an Army camouflage hat bearing an A in his 6-0, 6-0 semifinal win over Middle Creek junior A.J. Wypchoski and in the final against Stachowiak, a rematch of 2009.
Stachowiak led Cacha 2-1 in the second set before Cacha closed the match.
In the doubles final, Green Hopes No. 2-seeded team of sophomores Matt Hammond and Kyle Burns beat the No. 1-seeded Apex team of seniors Gibson Smith and Eric Fletcher 7-6 (7-2), 6-2.
The Tri-Nine sends six representatives in singles and doubles to the 4-A Mideast Regional that begins Friday, so in addition to the four semifinalists advancing, a backdraw was contested for the last two spots.
Wypchoski and Athens Driver junior Kelvin Menezes advanced as singles semifinalists. Advancing in doubles were Green Hopes Michael Neighbors and Mark Wickergren and Apexs Shivam Desai and Curtis Thomas.
The backdraw singles winners were Green Hope senior Jack Jin by scores of 6-3, 7-5 and Fuquay-Varina senior Bryce Riley by 6-2, 6-3. The backdraw doubles winners were Middle Creeks Justin Panepinto and Mihnea Tomos and Panther Creeks Merritt Nettles and Amit Katyayan.
Apex won a coin flip with regular-season co-champion Green Hope to determine the No. 1 seed in the team tournament