Gallant Gallian of West is Third in State in Tennis - TribPapers

Gallant Gallian of West is Third in State in Tennis

Drake Gallian follows through with gusto. Photo by Pete Zamplas.

Mills River – West Henderson’s Drake Gallian finished third in the 3A state individual tennis tournament.

Gallian’s feat is one of many in a magical 2023 for West teams. Falcon boys are among eight West teams that won league titles. Their many deep playoff drives makes West a prime contender for the Wells Fargo Cup for all 3A public schools.

“Kicked butt, took names” is what head coach Allen Combs wrote about West winning the Mountain Seven tourney on April 26-27. West (14-1; 12-0) won the M7 regular season by two games over Franklin and four over third-place Smoky Mountain.

Rising senior Gallian and second seed Julian Stovelski, as a sophomore, both won league titles. Stovelski finished ninth in the state in singles. They are West’s number one doubles tandem.

Other West single players this spring were newly-graduated Mason Pittman, Reese Shrader, Caleb Collany, and Alex Keever; and rising junior Connor McCrain. Collany starred in football as a defensive back.

The Falcons finished first in the West regional tourney May 5. The state tourney was a week later in Burlington, where baseball Falcons won their state title on June 3.

In dual team tennis playoffs, West beat East Lincoln 7-2 then lost a close 5-4 match to Lake Norman Charter School.

Meanwhile, Falcon golfers were second in M7 play. Colten Clevenger and Tyler Druskis made all-conference. Their head coach, Jay Young, is a Falcon assistant football coach.