Polk County senior Ryan Heider battled illness and two talented opponents Friday, but still managed to advance to the state 1A individual tennis championship match in Cary.
Heider opened play with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Raleigh Charter’s Jeremiah Lee, then came back to claim a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Research Triangle’s Lucas Trepanier.
The two wins move Heider into Saturday’s final at Cary Tennis Park, where Heider will face Research Triangle’s John Hankinson in his bid to become the first boys singles state champion in Polk County history.
Hankinson defeated Pine Lake Prep’s Tyler Ramanata 6-2, 6-1 in the other semifinal match. Heider defeated Ramanata 6-0, 6-2 in last week’s 1A West Regional final.
Hankinson, a junior, is in his third straight state tournament and was a semifinalist a year ago.