SOUTH PORTLAND — The Camden Hills boys tennis team has netted a boatload of state Class B court championships over the years, but, for whatever reason, a title in Class A has eluded the talented Windjammers, seemingly slipping through their fingers — and rackets — again and again.

That also happened on Saturday, June 11 at South Portland High School as the Windjammers (14-2) lost their first three matches to Kennebunk (15-1) and, despite rallying for two final court victories, suffered a 3-2 loss to again finish as Class A runners-up.

Camden Hills’ Ezra LeMole. Photo by Mark Haskell

Alas, the Windjammers, of course, have won numerous state Class B titles (5) — most recently back-to-back titles in 2016-2017 — but have yet to get to the top of the Class A mountain. So close to the peak, but not quite.

In fact, in Class B, Camden Hills won five state titles and finished runner-up 10 times. In Class A, the Windjammers have been runners-up four straight times, twice to Falmouth and then past two springs to nemesis Kennebunk (there was no season in 2020 due to the pandemic).

The individual state championship match results, with Windjammers listed first, were: In singles, Ezra LeMole lost to George Cutone, 0-6, 0-6; Lincoln Pierce lost to Will Smith, 2-6, 1-6; and Noah Thackeray beat Noah Williams, 6-4, 7-6 (1).

In doubles, Wilson Fedarko and Liam O’Dwyer lost to Jaxson Redmond and Matt Duncan, 4-6, 5-7; and Alex Todd and Sam VanLonkhuyzen beat Parker Smith and Blake Dallara, 6-7 (2), 6-3, 7-6 (6).

Camden Hills’ Sam VanLonkhuyzen. Photo by Mark Haskell

Camden Hills rode a 12-match win streak into Saturday’s state final, with its only previous loss of the spring being a 3-2 defeat to neighboring Medomak Valley of Waldoboro on April 28.

The Windjammers, the top seed in Class A North, defeated No. 8 Edward Little of Auburn 5-0 in the quarterfinals, No. 4 Brunswick 5-0 in the semifinals and No. 6 Mount Ararat of Topsham 5-0 in the final.

Kennebunk, the second seed in the South, beat No. 7 Westbrook 5-0, No. 3 Portland 4-1 and No. 1 Thornton Academy of Saco 3-2 earlier in the playoffs.

While the Rams went up 3-0 and secured its second straight state title in short order, three of the five matches — third singles and first and second doubles — were superbly competitive.

However, LeMole and Pierce knew well their hands were full with Cutone and Smith. Cutone, the two-time defending Maine Principals’ Association state singles champion, finished off LeMole in straight sets, which, ultimately, clinched the state title for Kennebunk.

Moments prior, Smith, who advanced to the Round of 16 in this year’s state singles tournament, put Kennebunk up 2-0 after a quick match with Pierce.

The match at first doubles between Fedarko and Dwyer and Redmond and Durcan was competitive, as the sides traded games throughout the two sets, though the Rams held a slight edge and eventually put Kennebunk up 1-0 as the first match off the court.

With the outcome in hand, the Windjammers continued to battle as Thackeray eventually edged Williams in a second-set tiebreaker in what very well may have been the match of the day.

Todd and VanLonkhuysen dropped the first set at second doubles to Smith and Dallara, but the momentum seemed to swing early in the second set when a member of the Rams’ second doubles team had to change rackets due to a broken string.

Camden Hills cruised in the second set of that match — leading 4-1 and 5-2 before it eventually netted a 6-3 win — and emerged with the win in three sets.

The Windjammer teams also vied for Class A North championships on Tuesday, June 7 at Wallach Tennis Complex at Bates College in Lewiston and when the final shots were made in the high school postseason matches, the Windjammers settled for a split.

For the Windjammer boys, it was business as usual as they swung to their fourth straight regional title, this time a 5-0 victory over No. 6 Mount Ararat.

Class A North boys high school tennis champions from Camden Hills Regional High School. The team members include, front from left, Liam O’Dwyer, Lincoln Pierce, Ezra Lemole, Will Jurek, Charlie Nicolet, Lucas Wyman, Jackson Strout and Declan Rodgers; and back, coach Noah Capetta, Oliver Kydd, Noah Thackeray, Sam VanLonkhuyzen, Alex Todd, Wilson Fedarko, Micah Mosheyev and Emmett Edge. Photo courtesy of Jared Todd

The No. 1 seed also prevailed in the girls final, which proved a tough pill to swallow for No. 3 Camden Hills as it dropped a 5-0 decision to defending state Class A champion and top-ranked Brunswick.

The following is information from the regional championship matches:

Boys

The individual regional championship results, with Camden Hills players listed first, were: In singles, Ezra Lemole beat Landon Weaver, 6-0, 6-0; Lincoln Pierce beat Alex Liva, 6-2, 6-1; and Noah Thackeray beat Charles Scribner, 6-0, 6-2.

In doubles, Wilson Fedarko and Liam O’Dwyer beat Noah Fusco and Tucker Wnek, 6-0, 6-3; and Alex Todd and Sam Van Lonkhuysen beat Noah Cook and Aaron Paul, 5-7, 7-5, 10-5.

Camden Hills’ Noah Thackeray, with teammates in background. Photo by Mark Haskell

For the Eagles, the region’s sixth seed, they bested No. 3 Skowhegan 3-2 in the quarterfinals and No. 7 Bangor 3-2 in the semifinals.

Camden Hills’ Alex Todd. Photo by Mark Haskell

“It feels great,” said Camden Hills coach Noah Capetta on the regional championship win. “The boys have worked really hard all season and their efforts paid off. They’re looking forward to the opportunity at our first state Class A title on Saturday.”

It was the fourth straight state Class A regional title for Camden Hills dating back to 2018. There was no spring sports season in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Camden Hills’ Lincoln Pierce. Photo by Mark Haskell

On Tuesday, the Windjammers asserted their will early against the lower-seeded Eagles as Pierce and Thackeray quickly swung to first-set victories against Liva and Scribner, as did Fedarko and O’Dwyer against Fusco and Wnek.

Fedarko and O’Dwyer led 3-2 in the second set before they quickly swept the next three games to put Camden Hills up 1-0.

Camden Hills’ Wilson Fedarko. Photo by Mark Haskell

The focus shifted to Pierce and Thackeray as both led their second sets 4-1, with Camden Hills ever-so-close to clinching a regional title. Pierce got off the court first with a 6-1 win, while Thackeray closed out Scribner with the championship-winning point.

“Each of our players have their MO [mission objective] with the way that they play their games,” said Capetta. “And they just had to stick to their guns. Ararat didn’t go down without a fight. Despite some of the scores, the sets were quite competitive and my guys just had to maintain their composure to close out their matches.”

Camden Hills also beat Mount Ararat twice, by 4-1 outcomes, during the regular season.

Girls

The Windjammers, the third seed in Class A North, defeated No. 6 Brewer 3-2 and No. 2 Hampden Academy 3-2 to advance to Tuesday’s regional final. The Dragons, the region’s top seed, defeated No. 8 Edward Little of Auburn 5-0 in the quarterfinals and No. 5 Messalonskee of Oakland 4-1 in the semifinals.

Brunswick improved to 14-1, while Camden Hills ended 11-4.

Camden Hills’ Julia Russell. Photo by Mark Haskell

The individual regional championship results, with Camden Hills players listed first, were: In singles, Eliza Nickerson lost to Coco Meserve, 3-6, 1-6; Charlotte Delehey lost to Abby Sharpe, 6-3, 3-6, 4-6; and Hattie Moss lost to Sadie Levy, 4-6, 2-6.

In doubles, Mila Bonometti and Julia Russell lost to Hazel Goodwin and Izzy Leitzell, 6-7, 2-6; and Ilanna Lam and Amelia Wold lost to Emily Davison and Logan Brown, 6-4, 2-6, 3-6.

Camden Hills’ Ilanna Lam. Photo by Mark Haskell

Camden Hills coach Lana Arau said, despite the outcome, that her squad “played great today.”

“We really took Brunswick by surprise,” she said. “I think they were anticipating an easy win. Our team had a different plan. We played Brunswick three times this year [and] we made improvements each match. All our our lines came to play. We were patient and played smart tennis, but were not able to upset Brunswick, the defending state championship team.”

Camden Hills’ Mila Bonometti. Photo by Mark Haskell

The second doubles tandem of Lam and Wold won their first set against Davison and Brown, while Bonometti and Russell battled Goodwin and Leitzell to a first-set tiebreaker before the Dragons, ultimately, took that set.

Delehey also nabbed a first set victory against Sharpe, but Brunswick, ultimately, seized control of the match and claimed its second straight regional title.

The Dragons beat the Windjammers 5-0 and 4-1 in regular-season matches.