DUBLIN — With a spot in the Three Rivers Conference finals on the line, West Bladen’s Jose Osorio and East Bladen’s Jay McGill traded big serves and long volleys Thursday on the Knights’ home tennis court.
In the end, it was Osorio who took the third-round match to move on.
“I’m pretty excited,” the West Bladen junior said after the match. “I’ve never been this far before.”
After a short break, Osorio took the court for the tournament championship against Griffen Hanna of South Columbus — but lost the match to settle for second place.
Despite the loss, Osorio finished fourth and qualified for a berth in the state’s Class 2-A regional tournament at Jordan-Matthews High School in Siler City on Friday, May 4.
“I’m still working on my serves, but things are starting to come together,” Osorio said. “So I’m looking forward to the regionals — it’ll be a big challenge, but I think I’ll be ready.”
After losing to Osorio in the third round, McGill still has a date in the regionals as one of the conference’s top-four finishers in singles competition.
Just missing out on a regional berth were West Bladen’s Desmond Lesesne, who knocked off Jacob Barber of East Bladen in a consolation match before falling to Carlos Luna of St. Pauls in a match for the final regional spot.
Over on the doubles side of the conference tournament, East Bladen’s tandem of Tucker Norton and Jackson Bostic just missed a shot at the regionals when they lost to the St. Pauls duo of Victor De La Cruz and Leonardo Garcia in the consolation match.
Overall, West Bladen coach Mary White — who served as the tournament coordinator — was pleased with how the competition went.
“It’s been a fun tournament,” she said. “East Bladen and West Bladen played each other a lot, which made it interesting for the kids.”
W. Curt Vincent can be reached at 910-862-4163 or firstname.lastname@example.org.