Robinson boys’ tennis boasts 3 brothers
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Tuesday, Apr. 29, 2014

Robinson boys’ tennis boasts 3 brothers

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- COURTESY OF KRISTI TEAL
From left, brothers Cole, Parker and Clay Teal comprise half of the Jay M. Robinson boys’ tennis starting lineup. The team posted a 9-1 overall record and finished second in the MECKA 8 4A.
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Jay M. Robinson High’s sports teams wear the school colors of maroon and black. The boys’ tennis team, however, is half Teal.

The brothers Teal comprise half of the Bulldogs’ starting lineup for Robinson, which posted a 9-1 overall record and finished second in the MECKA 8 4A conference this season. Together, the three of them lost only two regular-season singles matches.

Senior Parker Teal played No. 2 singles and twin freshmen brothers, Clay and Cole Teal, were No. 5 and No. 6, respectively. Parker qualified for the 4A West Regionals in singles, while Clay and Cole will compete in as a doubles team.

The regional will be May 2-3 at Hough High. As a team, the Bulldogs advanced to the 4A state dual-team tournament, which was scheduled to start on April 29.

The Teals all started playing tennis as preschoolers, influenced by their tennis-playing father, Chris. The boys all began playing about once a month in small, local junior tournaments about five years ago. Clay and Cole won some doubles championships during this period.

For a couple of years, all of the brothers trained with Amp Tennis pro Chad Oxendine. In recent years, though, they’ve developed under Aaron Morrison at Cabarrus Country Club.

Parker is a four-year starter at Robinson. As a freshman, he started the season at No. 6 singles. He was devastated when he lost his first scrimmage match.

“I didn’t like that,” said Parker. “I talked with my dad and coach (then Sarah Webb). I guess we kind of got it figured out. I didn’t lose a match the rest of the season.”

In the postseason, Parker qualified for the 3A regionals and lost in the first round. As a team that year, Robinson won the conference championship by sweeping through the South Piedmont 3A schedule.

With three players ahead of him graduating, Parker climbed to No. 2 singles as a sophomore. He and doubles partner Ben Davis were also regional qualifiers that season.

Parker split his junior season between No. 1 and No. 2 singles. He was named all-conference as he and Davis again advanced to regionals that season.

While Parker was playing for the Bulldogs, Clay and Cole would attend matches. Current Bulldogs coach Mark Driscoll anticipated them being future Bulldogs. The pair occasionally offered advice to their older brother, though it often fell on deaf ears.

This season, Parker welcomed his brothers and new teammates, the right-handed hitting Cole and the left-handed playing Clay. The two are fraternal twins, with the 5-foot-8 Clay being about 2 inches taller than his brother.

There’s only one thing working against the pair: Clay doesn’t like playing doubles very much. He would rather not have to count on someone else on the court – even if it is his brother.

Still, the pair works well together. Cole has a strong cross-court forehand, and Clay has a good backhand. Sometimes they bicker, and Parker occasionally tries to settle them with encouraging words.

“I enjoy having them on the team,” said Parker. “Last year, they didn’t really understand what high school tennis was. This year, they do. It’s pretty cool talking with them at home about strategy and pointing stuff out. They point stuff out to me also.”

Playing at No. 2 singles this year behind fellow senior KyMo Baek, Parker lost just one conference match in the MECKA 4A. Parker and Baek are doubles partners and often scrimmage against the Teal twins at practice.

The sons of Chris and Kristi Teal, the Teal brothers consider themselves close away from the tennis court, too. They enjoy playing pickup basketball against one another and are dedicated members of the youth group at Pitts Baptist Church, less than a five minute drive from Robinson High.

Joe Habina is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Joe? Email him at joehabina@yahoo.com.

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