Not rain, nor lightning, nor Randolph Henry High School could keep the George Mason High School boys varsity tennis team from another berth in the State Tournament.
The Mustangs endured numerous interruptions from uncooperative weather before defeating Randolph Henry, 5-0, to claim the Region B title and return to Radford in pursuit of their fifth consecutive state championship.
Mason got off to a false start early on. The team arrived at 8:15 a.m. to try to beat the incoming weather, but their opponents only showed in time to meet the original start time at noon. The Mustangs also were without the services of No. 2 player Brian Sham. Freshman Sam Waters filled in in Sham’s stead and expeditiously offed his opponent, 6-2, 6-3.
The Mustangs next face Region C champion Radford High School in the semifinals of the Virginia Group A state tournament held at Radford University. For the previous two seasons, Mason has squared off against the always competitive Radford Bobcats in the state finals, besting them both times.
This season could prove the most challenging matchup yet for the Mustangs, who graduated five of their top six players from last season. By comparison, last year’s Radford team didn’t have a single senior in the top six.
The team semifinal begins on Friday at 1 p.m.
Meanwhile in the individual bracket, Mason sophomore Tim Goetz, the Mustangs’ top singles player, defeated Goochland’s Colin Barry (6-1, 6-1) to win the Region B singles title. Goetz, who flaunts a record of 11-2 on the season, will now face Region A champion Cedric Bright of Nandua in the singles tournament that begins at 9 a.m. on Thursday. The winner of that match will advance to face either Radford’s Malik Mubeen, the Bobcats’ No. 1 player, or Gate City’s Chad Sheppard in the finals at noon that day.
Goetz will also compete alongside teammate Johnny Vroom in the semifinals of the state doubles tournament against Gate City duo Tyler DeBoard and Dalton Moore. That match is slated for 3 p.m. on Friday, June 6.