Croatan's Brodie Aud posts a 12-1 mark after making it into the top six singles players this year. (Zack Nally photo)

OCEAN — Brodie Aud struggled to break into the top six during his first two years with the Croatan tennis team, but once he got there, he thrived.

The senior went 5-0 at No. 6 and 7-1 at No. 5 to finish the regular season 12-1 in singles play.

“It’s been great,” Aud said. “The last two years I played, I wasn’t the greatest. I could somewhat hold my own, but I had a lot of physical drawbacks. I wasn’t that in shape.”

He went to work over the summer to remake his body. Aud started out at 160 pounds, and using calisthenics, he cut 20 pounds of fat before bulking up and putting on 30 pounds of muscle in the fall. Once tennis season started, he cut back down to help with endurance.

“I put my foot down,” Aud said. “I wanted to feel better. I didn’t like the way I was. It has really helped out. I’m so much better physically, and it has really helped me get a lot better at tennis. I was able to place No. 6. I hit the ball a lot better than I did.”

The Cougars won two conference championships in Aud’s first two years – they’ve now won six in a row – and went 13-0 overall this season with a 6-0 mark in the 1A/2A Coastal 8 Conference.

“It’s my last year in high school, and I’m actually contributing to my team, providing some points,” he said. “After doing exhibitions the last couple of years, it feels good to help out.”

Aud didn’t just go 12-1 in singles, he mostly dominated. In 26 sets, he won 10 by 6-0 scores and another six by 6-1 scores. Six more games went by 6-2 scores.

Only two of his matches were competitive.

On March 14, East Duplin’s Dallas Hatcher beat Aud 6-7 (1-7), 7-6 (7-0), 10-2 in a three-hour contest in No. 5 singles. Hatcher went 11-1 this year.

“That was a physically demanding match,” Aud said. “We were both worn out. It was a crazy match.”

On April 10, Aud defeated Richland’s Tucker Ramsey 6-4, 5-7, 10-8. Ramsey went 7-3 splitting his time between No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 singles.

“I didn’t want to repeat history,” Aud said. “I decided to stick it out and keep hitting the ball well.”

After playing exhibition matches during his first two years, did Aud expect to blossom and go 12-1 between No. 6 and No. 5 singles?

“I’ve surprised myself,” he said. “I was lackluster in my performance the past two years. I’m much better than I was. I improved really fast.”

Aud reported that his coach, Jim Sheehan, was also surprised by his improvement. He credits Sheehan with both his and the team’s performance.

“Our coach is amazing,” Aud said. “He never gives up on us. He gives us great advice. He’s a great coach.”

Aud has taken care of business in the classroom as well, posting a 3.9 GPA. He hopes to major in astronomy in college and plans on attending community college for the first two years.

“I don’t want to get in debt going to a big college,” he said. “I’m not looking to amass a ton of debt. I was dead set on going straight to a four-year college but I decided that might not be the best idea. I’m going to save some money.”

Here are a few of Aud’s favorite things, as well as his ideal groups with which to eat dinner and survive a zombie apocalypse and the five items he would take with him on a deserted island:

Favorite Movie: “No Country For Old Men.”

Favorite TV Show: “Game of Thrones.”

Favorite Cartoon: “Tom and Jerry.”

Favorite Band/Artist: Panic! At The Disco.

Favorite Song: “Stolen Dance” by Milky Chance.

Favorite Book: Hatchet by Gary Paulsen.

Favorite Team: Washington Redskins.

Favorite Athlete: Dustin Brown.

Favorite Vacation: Bird River in Maryland.

Favorite Hobby: Video games.

Favorite Subject: Science.

Favorite Quote: “You are what you eat.”

Favorite Food: Nachos.

Favorite Drink: Water.

Favorite Restaurant: Plaza Mexico.

Favorite Season: Winter.

Favorite Sports Memory: Winning the tiebreaker against Richlands.

Favorite Teacher: Mr. Holloway.

Favorite Sport: Tennis.

Favorite Pre-Game/Post-Game Ritual: Eating high-protein food, 20-30 minute power nap, and warm-up routine.

Favorite Website/App: YouTube.

Favorite Follow on Twitter/Instagram: @baaud21.

Ideal Dinner Guest List: Ryan Reynolds, Eric Andre, Chaz May, John McEnroe and Elon Musk.

Ideal Group To Survive A Zombie Apocalypse: Zach Simmonette, J.P. McLean, Paul Beek, Mason Fails and A.J. Matas.

Items For A Deserted Island: Water purifier, flint and steel, machete, spear and yo-yo.

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