Kyle Johnson had made history.
He accomplished something no other boys high school tennis player in North Carolina had. But during a match just a few days later, he didn’t care about that.
Johnson had just won his singles match against Marvin Ridge’s Joey Hatala 6-1, 6-2, and he was hoping his Charlotte Catholic team could win the dual-team playoff match.
“I hope this isn’t my last high school match,” he said after the singles win.
The Cougars lost 5-4, and it was his last singles match, but it doesn’t diminish the legacy Johnson left at Charlotte Catholic.
With a 6-3, 6-4 win against Cardinal Gibbons’ Matt Daly in the 3A singles championship at the Burlington Tennis Center on May 12, Johnson became the first boys tennis player to win four N.C. High School Athletic Association individual singles championships. Over his four-year career, Johnson is 90-7 in singles play and was undefeated this year, never dropping a set this season.
Today, he is named the Observer’s Player of the Year in the newspaper’s 131-school coverage area in North and South Carolina.
Johnson is ranked the No. 110 senior in the nation and No. 3 in the state by Tennis Recruiting Network. Next year, he’ll play at DePaul University.
While Johnson won his fourth straight title, Salisbury’s Michael Ogden now has a chance to pull off a similar feat as the Hornets’ freshman won the 2A singles’ title in his first year.
Ogden beat South Iredell senior Patrick Hensley (also 2011 state runner-up) 6-4, 6-0 to win the championship.
The Shelby boys team also had a historic season, going a perfect 23-0, capped by a 2A state team championship, with a 5-1 win over Carrboro in the finals.
Golden Lions’ Coach Jackson Martin earned Observer and Regional Coach of the Year after leading his squad to a unbeaten season and a title, their first since 2003. Martin also led Shelby to a Southern Mountain Athletic title and 2A West Regional championship in the process.
Providence Day’s Ryan Harper earns the Mecklenburg Coach of the Year award, after guiding his Charger team to a second NCISAA 3A state title in the past three years. Harper and Co. edged rival, (and defending state champion) Charlotte Country Day 5-4 to win the title (their third in Harper’s tenure).
Harper has also won the past three state championships with his Providence Day girls team as well as five of the past titles.