Polk County’s Adam Kehrer captured the Western Highlands Conference singles title Tuesday – but not without quite a battle with a teammate.
Kehrer defeated Mountain Heritage’s Luke Watrous 8-3 in the championship match of the tournament, held at Owen High School. Kehrer becomes the third consecutive Wolverine to win the WHC singles title, following Ryan Heider (2019) and Henry Monts (co-champ in rain-plagued 2018 tourney).
Polk’s doubles team of Andy Ballentine and Jack Smith also reached the final before falling 8-3 to Owen’s Wilson Davis and Siler Gore.
Kehrer, Ballentine and Smith qualified for the 1A West Regional, set for May 6 at Elkin High School.
Kehrer’s path to the title nearly detoured in his singles match with teammate Matias Akers. The doubles partners staged quite a battle, with Kehrer finally claiming a 7-6 (10-5), 6-1 win. Akers had leads of 5-3 and 6-5 in the opening set, but Kehrer fought back to force a tiebreaker and ultimately win the set.
“There’s no question that both players deserve to be in the regionals and it is unfortunate that Matias won’t be there,” said Polk County head coach Richard Davis. “However, Adam and Matias chose to play singles knowing that they probably were going to have to beat each other.
“Hats off to both players as they both had fabulous seasons.”