RALEIGH — Defending doubles champions Sammi Smith and Jordan Strickland of Panther Creek, both sophomores, defended their title Saturday against Cary seniors Jamie Rogers and Hannah Jabusch in the NCHSAA 4A championship at Millbrook Exchange Club.
The title-winners had beat the same opponents a week earlier in the regional finals but lost to the Cary duo in the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference championship. It remains the ony loss of Smith and Strickland’s high school career as doubles partners.
The duo had a test Saturday, taking the first set 6-3 before Cary’s Jabusch and Rogers dominated the second 6-1, forcing a third set. The defending champions pulled it out, 6-2.
“We knew it would be a hard match and it could go either way,” Smith said. “Thankfully, it went our way.”
Both players agreed that the added pressure of being defending champions, made winning a second title a little harder.
Rogers and Jabusch hoped they could accomplish a repeat of the SWAC championship, when they topped Smith and Strickland for the conference doubles title.
“It did give us some confidence because we knew we could beat them,” Jabusch said. “We knew that we had the ability to beat them all along, they just pulled it out today. They played great.”
It was the first time Jabusch and Rogers made it to the state championship, so while the seniors would have liked to have ended their high school careers as state champions, getting to the final match was still quite the achievement.
“This was great,” Rogers said. “Making it this far is just as good.”
Holly Springs’ Bailey Edwards was a semifinalist in 4A singles.
3A tennis: Cardinal Gibbons’ Devin Knors and Lizzie Galush defeated teammates Natalie Freeman and Summer Jacobs to win the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3A tennis doubles title, 6-3, 6-3, on Saturday in Greensboro.
Knors and Galush are the Crusaders’ top two singles players, but they and their teammates had made it a goal to meet in the doubles finals.
“We had hoped to do that in the regionals, but Natalie and Summer lost in the semifinals to the team from Terry Sanford in three sets,” said Gibbons coach Andrew Tuttle. “They were able to come back today and beat the Terry Sanford girls.”
Terry Sanford’s Claire Lieberman and Huda McGraw fought off two set points before taking a 6-5 lead in the deciding set. Freeman and Jacobs tied the match 6-6 and won the tiebreaker 7-3.
Gibbons played at home on Monday against Northern Guilford in the third round of the NCHSAA dual-team tournament.
Dual-team matches are scheduled for Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. In 4A, Green Hope played at Millbrook and Panther Creek played at Broughton.
Staff writer Tim Stevens contributed to this report.