© 2024. Randolph Hub. All Rights Reserved.


Silas Jessup is undefeated in his freshman year at Wheatmore. 

Unbeaten freshman wins PAC tourney title

ASHEBORO — Maybe Silas Jessup has figured out what it takes to be truly successful in high school sports. It sure looked like it during the Piedmont Athletic Conference Tennis Championships held last week at Asheboro Memorial Park.


Silas, a freshman at Wheatmore High School, captured the individual title with three straight-set wins, including a 6-3, 6-4 win over Trinity High School’s Dominic Payne in the finals.


“I was just going to go out and try my best and have a good attitude,” Jessup said. “I had been in only one tournament before. My serve was actually pretty good and I just wanted to keep the ball in play.”


Jessup opened the tournament with a first-round bye before defeating Asher Perkins of Southwestern Randolph 6-1, 6-2 and then teammate and doubles partner Avery Plummer in the semifinals, 6-0, 6-0.


“I felt some pressure,” Jessup said about coming into the tournament undefeated in PAC play. “But that was the normal season and this is make-or-break. Anything can happen.”


What has happened is what WHS coach Doug Gore said he hoped would happen way back when Jessup, who also played baseball, basketball and soccer as a youth, was in the third grade. 


“My first year coaching at Wheatmore, I was having summer workouts with the ladies and one day right near the end of practice, one of the teachers came up with a kid and they went down on one of the lower courts and started hitting,” Gore reminisced. “I was talking to Miss Jessup and she introduced her son Silas and said he was in the third grade. I saw him hit and I was pretty impressed with how he was hitting the ball. I told everyone I was going to coach until he got to Wheatmore.”


Now the sixth-year coach is hoping to see Jessup dominate for quite awhile. Jessup was 16-3 overall in singles play this year, helping the Warriors to a 6-4 finish in the PAC, good enough for a tie for second with Trinity behind undefeated Uwharrie Charter.


Gore said he saw a great deal of improvement from Jessup during his first year.


“Silas works really hard at practices and he hadn’t played in a lot of matches,” Gore said. “The first few matches, he was really hesitant. He wasn’t sure how to make adjustments with players who weren’t up to his level.  He struggled against kids I didn't think he should struggle with. 


“As the year went along, he started developing into a much better match player. I have watched him grow from beginning to the end and have seen him develop into a much more rounded player.”


Jessup, who has teamed with Plummer in doubles action with just one loss all season, will be competing in the individual regional tournament later this week. 


“I am going to go out there and have a good time,” Jessup said. “I'm going to play hard and try and keep the same mentality.”


Why change? It’s worked very well so far.