FISHERSVILLE – The brother-sister duo of Landon and Ryan Aud went from strength to strength Thursday evening as they claimed the girls and boys Conference 36 singles championships not at their high school, but the court where it all began.
The tournament was supposed to be played at Wilson Memorial, their home court, but after the first round of action, several bursts of thunder and ominous clouds in the distance forced the tournament indoors to the Lifetime Fitness center in the Augusta Health complex. Within minutes, a heavy rain was pounding on the roof, drowning out the volleys and thwacks of pairs picking up where they left off.
The location change proved to be fortuitous for the champions. The courts at Lifetime Fitness were witness to the birth of the Aud dynasty seven years ago, when the brother and sister first began playing. It was only fitting that they should return there to claim matching championship titles.
“This is where we’ve been playing for years,” Landon said. “We know the courts pretty well. This is like our home court so it’s pretty special.”
Ryan was the first to medal. Both siblings had a bye in the first round. In Ryan’s first match he knocked off Jordan Secrist of East Rockingham 6-0 and 6-1 to advance to the title match against the 1 seed, Stuarts Draft’s Matthew Gordon.
Gordon and Aud had faced each other twice during the regular season, splitting the results with a win and a loss each. Aud had advanced to the championship match last year, and gone home without a medal. This time he made sure the story had a different ending, winning out 6-1, 6-4.
“I had a lot of confidence today,” Ryan said. “I came into it thinking I was going to win and made sure I hit everything with conviction, closed fast, all that.”
On the girls side, Landon Aud beat Jennifer Williams of Lee 6-3, 6-1 to book a place in the final against Chloe Shuff of East Rockingham. Shuff played the match of the day to get there, a two-hour long game of attrition with Sydney Cubbage of Page County. Shuff eventually triumphed 6-1, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3.
In the girls final, Landon cruised through her first set 6-0, before Shuff reasserted herself in the second, climbing to within 4-3 of Aud, despite having racked up 59 games in just one day of competition. Aud finished strong, however, and pulled out the 6-4 for her first conference championship.
Both the champion and the runner-up advance to the region tournament. Ryan Aud and Matthew Gordon will both represent the conference at the Region 2A East boys singles tournament at Maggie Walker/Battery Park on May 24. Landon Aud and Chloe Shuff will play the same day at Wilson.