Middle Creek Nick Stachowiak went unbeaten last season en route to the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A state singles championship as a freshman, extending the conference’s streak of sending the league singles champion to the state title match to five years in a row.
Ranked No. 1 in the state, Stachowiak is back for the Mustangs, along with regional qualifier Justin Panepinto.
Middle Creek (9-7 last year) might challenge for the conference title, but that honor has belonged to Green Hope over the last several years.
Green Hope (19-2) advanced to the third round of last year’s state playoffs before falling to eventual champ Millbrook. The Falcons return only two players from last year’s lineup, juniors Ashwyn Iyer and Louis Rico. Sophomore Matt Whitney also returns.
Panther Creek (16-4), which finished runner-up to Green Hope and made it to the second round of the playoffs, returns five of its top six players in senior Henrik Lindvall and juniors Guy Blanc, Matt Fahys, Ty Giggey and Anuraag Agarwal.
Holly Springs (12-5) was third in the league and returns junior Collin Carter and regional doubles qualifier Grant Miller, a sophomore.
Apex (10-7), which tied Middle Creek for fourth in the league, brings back regional qualifying doubles partners Cole Bowser and Carter Bradshaw, both seniors, as well as junior Jonathan Seith and seniors Kyle Klinek and Tanner Wilson
Athens Drive (7-9) brings back its only regional qualifier in senior Jack Lawson as well as junior Mark Zaccerdelli.
Cary (4-12) finished two spots ahead of Fuquay-Varina (0-16) in last year’s conference standings.
Blake: 919-460-2606; Twitter: @JMBpreps